Our creative relationship with the Gauteng City-Region Observatory (GCRO) has lead to one of our most challenging and rewarding communication design solutions. The project centred on consolidating the organisation’s varied and extensive web applications and vast online research outputs into an accessible and user friendly web interface. An established and important voice within the field of urban studies both in South Africa and internationally, the GCRO is a partnership between the University of Johannesburg (UJ), the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg (Wits) and the Gauteng provincial and local government. Charged with extending links to all the higher education institutions, as well as knowledge councils, private sector think-tanks, research NGOs and information-exchange and learning-networks operating in the city-region, the organisation is part of a very complex social and scientific ecosystem.
The GCRO website redesign was a challenging balance between providing easy and accessible UX for diverse users and a complete information architecture overhaul to best showcase complex scientific research findings. We developed a dynamic integrated website that lets users navigate dense and varied content with ease. Hot links and a colour coded system differentiates between research themes and related projects to make searchability easier. To facilitate easy linking to external sites, we designed a GIS template. For monthly updates, that include a Map of the Month and research data vignettes, we developed a brand colour template and a infographic illustration style that helps to visualise research data.
The brand evolution and logo system applied to the website also informs the printed collateral that include stationary and regular printed research outputs.