Sam Small, Made by Many designer: the Forum’s brand is firmly rooted in the Swiss aesthetic: it is conservative and authoritative. Historically, execution of the brand in print design has been managed well, but online treatments weren't quite as consistent. We created a new design system for digital that respects the brand’s foundations and has a strong focus on content.
Some early design iterations tried to push the brand out of its comfort zone. Ultimately these experiments felt trendy, ill-conceived and were at a disconnect from how stakeholders perceived the brand. This brought us back to the principles of the brand and Swiss design, and the result is a primarily functional, modern, clean design that supports the content.
Previously the website organised content by type — separate rows for videos, articles, reports, and so on. In the context of news and factual, we reorganised content by topic instead, providing tools for the Forum to create packages of content relating to a specific topic. This gave the opportunity to promote pressing issues, thereby unlocking a wealth of content that was previously hard to find.
Additionally, we restructured the Agenda landing page to showcase the Forum’s Global Challenges, giving an overview of the wide range of issues that matter to the institution.
Finally, we thought about the onward user journey. A large proportion of traffic to the Forum’s blog is to single articles via social media, and we created a design for the article page that allowed for deeper exploration into the same topic, as well as links to recent articles.
The Results: a supercharged, evolvable platform for the future
Peter Parkes: In many respects this project is a great example of the potency of the Made by Many approach.
The highlights and challenges included working with a client team unfamiliar with lean or agile processes, and one who was beholden to a large and traditional organisation, and thus unable to do the things they wanted as a result, and a Made by Many team that was able to deliver an extraordinary pace of change during a massive global event – deploying changes twice a day to a site receiving hundreds of thousand of visitors.
We built an incredibly stable and robust platform able to withstand record levels of traffic during the biggest event of the year, and also to deploy new functionality at peak traffic. Working with the security team at the Forum we also created a very secure, stable and modern infrastructure without sacrificing flexibility. The technical output was impressive, traffic to the website is higher, the site is faster, and the CMS operates more quickly.
Ilya Poropudas: We often encounter difficulty in getting a company to go digital. How far does that cultural change reach? We certainly made an impact on the immediate team – our product owner at the Forum went on an agile course to better understand product development. But we could twist it the other way round: the work we did is a testament to Made by Many's flexibility, because we had to adapt as well.