New outlook, same priorities

We are thrilled to share with you that, since this Monday, the website of the World Jewish Congress features brand new outlook and offers a much improved user experience. For the refining of the application we bet on responsive design practices and much stronger visual presentation.

We took over the rebuilding of WJC’s website in 2007 and have been managing it ever since. Witnessing the continuous shifting of media consumption from desktop to mobile in the last few years, we recognized that it is time for a substantial change. When we found the time to take up with the task, we were filled with excitement to explore how far we can go with it.

A few words on responsive design

Current figures show that about 30% of media consumption happens on devices different from desktop computers (tablets, smartphones, etc.). Content providers have no choice but make their desktop product available for these other devices as well, which — if responsive design hadn’t come into the picture — would have meant writing new websites for each type of device. Now, they can build one version which to be able to recognize the “environment” in which the user is browsing and to make content respond in a way in which it is most easily absorbable. Explained more simply, when you look at a responsively designed website via the small screen of your smartphone, instead of seeing parts of words and pictures, you see meaningful pieces of information; the last, because the content resizes itself dynamically according to the shape and size of your screen.

The redesigning process

For the responsive design part we used Twitter Bootstrap. Bootstrap is a front-end web development framework which provides a set of basic style definitions for all interface components for CSS, HTML and some optional JavaScript extensions.The partial compatibility of elements with all devices and browsers allows them to maintain responsiveness in every situation. Bootstrap is available in the resources of GitHub — one of the most popular code repository sites at the moment — as an open source project.

Now comes the part about the big, nice jQuery sliders. We knew from the analytics of the website that the people who come to the platform via a browser are mostly first-time visitors. Regular readers usually jump straight to the news section from the newsletter. What we wanted to do is create a powerful and consistent presentation of the website’s mission, which to hit users still in the first few minutes on the platform. To accomplish this, we bet on large, influential images, representing the organization’s goals, and integrated them with the cool jQuery’s fluid sliders feature. (Bootstrap’s JavaScript components are based on the jQuery JavaScript library.)

Generally, we needed to make use of many tabs and sliders, while creating the new design, as the content of the website is a lot: All the information from the old side had to be transferred to the new one, with the general information section multiplied 12 times, as it was to be made available in 12 languages. Most of the sections should have been accessible from the main page and still it shouldn’t look too cramped.

The last touch was the upgrade of WJC’s logo: we eliminated some of the old colors and introduced some new ones and also rearranged some of the elements of the emblem.

Final stage

The website is still under development, but we are pleased with the results till now. At this point, we are looking forward to find out what will be the effects on the traffic. We will also highly appreciate your feedback, as it is the other essential part in assessing how well we have done.

This article is available also in Serbio-Croatian, thanks to our reader Jovana Milutinovich.