University of Nevada, Reno / ABLE website

Client: University of Nevada, Reno
Project: ABLE website
Project type: Website [ visit ]
What we did: Interface/UX design, Back-end development, Database integration, Front-end development
Date completed: June, 2009

The project

New homepage with content management system (CMS) for the Arthur Brant Laboratory for Exploratory Geophysics at the University of Nevada, Reno.

The challenge

UNR needed to update the design of the ABLE website and wire it for easy in-house content management. Their requirements, however, were anything but easy: because of the myriad different types of complex data that they needed to manage, an out-of-the-box CMS solution just wouldn't cut it. And they were also unwilling to compromise a modern, up-to-date design in order to shoe-horn it into the templating structure that a pre-built CMS requires.

The solution

We designed and built a custom Ruby on Rails-based CMS that is both more flexible and easier to use than any pre-built solution on the market.

All content editing takes place in-page: after a simple log in, the editor simply navigates to the page that they want to edit on the public-facing website and clicks any editable text-area. The static text is transformed into an edit form, where the copy is edited and saved. And because it's immediately viewable in the page itself, it's much easier to proof and update as required.

Even complex data types are easily created and updated - and because it all happens directly in the public-facing pages, there are none of the design restrictions that a pre-built CMS requires. But because of the strength of underlying architecture, development time is no longer than what it would be to build any page's HTML, CSS and editing form.

And because the need for a large administrative interface is eliminated, content editors don't have to do the annoying CMS dance of editing in one window, checking in another, re-editing and re-checking ad nauseum. Content edits are much easier, and thus content is edited more frequently - what would ordinarily be a chore is as easy click, type and save.