The European Bioinformatics Institute has a new website…

Hello!  Yes, it’s big news this week: the EBI launched its new website on Monday morning!

EBI website Kaizen

It has taken many months to prepare the new website, and the EBI will continue rolling out improvements in the coming months to bring all pages into the new look-and-feel.  It’s such a huge website, including so many different service brands and huge amounts of data, that there will inevitably be some ‘fixing the plane whilst flying’. This is a good thing if you believe, like Lou Rosenfeld (UX guru and publisher), that ‘Redesign’ is a dirty word .  [Quote: “Every time you redesign, God kills a kitten“.]

Redesigns tend to be full overhauls.  This is not always great, since they can be driven by politics, have poorly defined scope, and are destined to fall short of solving all your problems ‘once and for all’.  In contrast, continuous improvement/change (a la ‘Kaizen’ of the management world) can lead to a site that can shift to meet the organisation’s and users’ needs.  The result is happier developers and end users, for the long term- even if it means having a ‘harlequin’ website at times.

User-centred design, EBI style

I was going to write a longer post about how we applied user experience techniques to design the behaviour and visuals of the new website, but the EBI’s Associate Director, Ewan Birney has written a lot about it already, see: Ewan’s blog.  One thing to note, is how the EBI looked to the BBC’s experience, in particular the BBC global experience language (GEL), for rethinking their web offering.  We aimed to create an ‘EBI-ness’ about our pages, but still having distinct service brands within it – much like the BBC has specific brands (like Dr. Who) within the overarching BBC brand.

Take a look and let us know what you think of it!

EBI launched the new site on 4 March 2013
EBI launched the new site on 4 March 2013









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