New Website: Disaster Research Response

The client

The National Institute of Environment Health Sciences (NIEHS) wanted to create a new website to connect communities, academics and agencies together.  The website Opus Design developed for them is called Disaster Research Response.  The project was led by Bevin Engelward and Christy Chao from MIT and Ann Backus from Harvard.

The project

The Disaster Research Response (DR2) website is a place for government agencies, community members, and researchers to connect with other experts, report data collected, and respond to environmental disasters in one place.

Design challenge and approach

Opus Design has worked with this client on other websites, so we were able to get right to work on the project.  The client already had a good handle on their content and how they needed it to be organized. We started to sketch out the wireframes pretty quickly.  A wireframe lays out the content and the hierarchy of a page, it also considers the functionality of various elements on the page. It doesn’t contain any design however, a wireframe serves as a list of “ingredients” and prompts a discussion about technical requirements.

research wireframing

Sr. Designer, Emily Knapp who specializes in infographics and the visualization of complex data, worked to create a visually clean, organized and intuitive website design. The design requirements for this website were wide open, with no previous visual brand requirements.  Emily focused squarely on usability and a super clean design.

new website

Our in house developer, Yuriy Mantulin, used MIT’s Drupal Cloud, for this project.  Together they were able to complete a new website that could really help the client share research and other information with the professionals who need it.  This past year we’ve seen several natural disasters including hurricanes Harvey and Maria. We hope this tool will promote collaboration and our hearts goes out to those who have been affected by natural disasters.