A diverse collection of multidisciplinary research groups, MIT’s Design Lab needed a new digital hub to support and connect their initiatives.
We worked with the Design Lab's leadership team to create and deploy a digital strategy that afforded the flexibility of their current system—one-off websites for every research project—while opening up collaboration and establishing a clear overarching brand.
A New Digital Hub
Managing projects across their distributed setup of one-off WordPress websites had become a major bottleneck, especially for project leads working on multiple research initiatives. To streamline the collaborative process we built a custom web platform that gave every team member permissioned access to their projects from a single login, minimizing redundancy and fostering communication.
To maintain brand continuity between the main website and the project micro-sites we prototyped with the Lab's team various layout taxonomies to narrow down the default templates. Following multiple elimination rounds we distilled the handful of selected templates down to their core components and proceeded to develop drag-n-drop content modules that enabled further variation within the layouts themselves.
In addition to the main website's administrative area, we developed a custom space for creating and managing the research micro-sites. Live-previewing of micro-site customizations like default layout, colors, and content was enthusiastically received by the Lab's team, as was the ability to manage everything from a single URL on their MIT domain.
Up(load) and Away
Enabled by the power of open-source, the new platform encourages simple cross-project collaboration by different groups, cataloging the output under a unified brand and providing the Design Lab with a digital presence to match their cutting edge research. Already the lab has created over 60 projects and 20 micro-sites, and we're very excited (and grateful) to be a part of the platform's growth.
See it live at design.mit.edu