Ireland.ie: The Official Website to Commemorate the 1916 Rising
Our task was to create a co-lingual and rich-media experience within an events-driven website to showcase the full extent of the commemorations of the 1916 Rising that would take place across the country.
With Easter 2015 fast approaching (the date that would begin a year of 1916 Rising centenary celebrations, culminating in the centrepiece of the 100 year anniversary in Easter 2016), we were set the task of developing a website for this pivotal year in Irish history. The website had to be fast, co-lingual (Irish and English side-by-side on the page), and feature an enterprise search engine to allow visitors to quickly find the content they wanted to see. Once complete, all parties could then take stock of what was produced and begin the process of refining it for futher iterations.
There was a dual approach to this website:
- Since there was going to be so much content added we had to ensure we created a top notch editing experience for the site admins; and
- Since the website was going to be a showcase of Ireland for the year, user experience (including performance and security) was critical.
Since the content on the website required the two languages to be displayed on the page side-by-side, we developed an editing experience that would mirror this. Instead of having an input field for content, editors had two input fields - one for each language. This meant editors could easily see if a given content field had been translated or not, and also facilitated the checking of the accuracy of the translation during the editing process.
With that complete, we set about developing structured content widgets to allow the editors to choose what type of content went on each page, rather than bloating the interface with one large WYSIWYG editor. Editors could choose 'Structured Content Types' for each page section - text, image, gallery, media/video, etc. Taking this approach meant that they would know in advance exactly how each item would render on the page, meaning that the design of the page would never be compromised by an ill-defined editor experience.
We then created tabs for each section of a page – Page Title, Metatags, Introduction, Imagery, Structure Content Widgets, etc, so editors could have an editing page that looked small and was very easy to navigate.
The website is an information portal about the 1916 Rising. Its essence is drawn from a listing of events that are happening around the country to commemorate this. We built an enterprise-ready search engine into the backend of the website to ensure that all events could be easily found by users. Search can be performed by keyword, date, and a whole host of category filters. Users may then sort the results by keyword relevance or date.
The design makes great use of a grid-style layout to achieve uniformity across all pages and to help with gathering information through page scanning. It is built on the same principles that underlay the Pinterest website, using a 'masonry' approach to the grid items. This means that on different screen sizes (phones, tablets, desktops) the grid items re-align themselves to make best use of available space.
Built on the Drupal 7 CMS, and making heavy use of the 'Paragraphs' module, the site is hosted on servers specially primed for enterprise Drupal websites, with site performance and security at the forefront of all thinking. At some points during the promotion of the programme, site visitors increased over 1000% within a minute, with no lag in delivery of pages to users.
We loved working on this project. The client was great to work with, the designs - supplied by ZeroG & BigO Media - captured the essence of the project, and each iteration made it that much better. We got to showcase, again, our ability to take on complex projects and deliver them without fail within tight deadlines.
To top it all off, the website also won a Silver ICAD award for Creative Excellence in Website Design in 2016.
Our only regret is that the celebrations aren't going to last for another year!
Annertech won the tender to build the Ireland.ie site, working closely with our communications teams within the Ireland 2016 office, our design partners Zero G and our Big O Media, who developed our digital content. The initial site was launched in March 2015, under an extremely tight deadline. Over the course of the next ten months, Annertech were responsible for implementing a number of iterations of the website in order to showcase a vast range and diversity of content in a way that was easily accessible for multiple audiences, at home and abroad. Their work was very thorough, expertly executed and often required working under tight deadlines and under extreme pressure. Their demeanour throughout was very professional and very friendly, which made working with them very pleasant, and positive results much more easy to achieve. No task was too difficult and they also approached every challenge with a positive solution focused approach.