CERN is now a global brand, with global appeal. Our website should reflect that, delivering a browsing experience worthy of the home of the web. That’s why we’re launching a new website, seizing the opportunity to reach millions of people every year who want to engage with CERN, and to better serve the daily needs of a community of thousands of CERN people, scientists, engineers and physicists in the high-energy physics community and beyond.
CERN's new website is currently in pre-release and will be launched progressively over the coming weeks, replacing first the public website and eventually the users' website that we see within CERN as our homepage. The launch will mark a significant change in how the Organization facilitates communications within the CERN community, as well as how it presents itself to the world. The first thing that you will notice is that the website looks different, but the most significant changes run deeper, and they form the basis for a new communications architecture.
There are many ways we could have chosen to build the new CERN website. We could have asked designers to create something beautiful. We could have created a template for content. Or we could have tweaked our existing websites. Instead, we went back to basics and reflected on who we want to reach and what their needs are. Then we asked them to help us. All our stakeholders have had an opportunity to influence our new website, and many of you have taken that opportunity. We have conducted regular audience research through online polling, usability testing, and in-depth one-on-one interviews, receiving feedback and input from thousands of users. I would like to thank everyone who got involved: your feedback has directly shaped many of the design decisions and turned this into a real community effort.
At the editorial level, what has emerged is a clear idea of who our audiences are and what they expect of us. As a result, we have developed writing guidelines to help us to maintain a standard tone and style. Adhering to these guidelines will also allow us to share content in a structured way to other web services and applications. For example, this year we will begin the development of a mobile app for CERN people.
There are big changes ahead. For many of us some of these changes may be frustrating at times - the motor skills we use to find a familiar link from the users' page will have to be relearned, for instance. I for one remember all too well how frustrating the last change in the CERN website was, over a decade ago, but familiarity does not change the fact that an overhaul of the website was long overdue. If you ever feel lost, the directory is there to guide you.
The design phase for the new website is by no means over. In fact, it will never be over. We have put in place an iterative process where we will continue to engage with the website's users. We will continue to seek your feedback and strive to make things better.
If you haven't already done so, I would urge you to familiarise yourself with the new website, and please do give your feedback to the project team.