Earlier this week, the National Consortium for the Study of the Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) launched its new website at http://www.start.umd.edu. The new website, designed by The Canton Group, improves upon aesthetic and design, as well as making it easier to navigate to the research, data and expertise users seek.
The website is designed to help steer people to the content they are most interested in, whether they be policymakers, practitioners, researchers or students, said William Braniff, START's executive director. Our primary challenge was organizing the volume of information associated with the Consortium and its research, and to make it as accessible as possible.
By leveraging the Drupal Content management System, START's web content, which includes research projects, publications and news stories, is now tagged by broad research areas, specific topics and geographic regions. Research areas include: Terrorism and Violent Extremism, Counterterrorism and Countering Violent Extremism, Risk Communication and Resilience, Radicalization and Deradicalization, and Unconventional Weapons and Technology.
In addition to the substantive searches described above, the new publications search function allows users to search through hundreds of terrorism related publications by publication type, START authors, and publication date and then download the search results with links to the publications.
The aesthetics of the site also play into its function, Braniff said. Based on your searches, thematically related sidebar images and text help guide you through the site to find additional related content.
Braniff also noted that the new website will provide for a more dynamic and engaging user experience. All pages feature social media sharing buttons and access to a student blog. The mobile responsive website also allows users to access START's information just as easily from their smartphone or tablet.
We are grateful to the IT and design teams at The Canton Group who rose to our unique challenges, Braniff said. They helped us to understand our users needs and to create a website tailored to meet them.