The Enterprise Networks Directorate (DRE – Direction des Réseaux d’Entreprise) coordinates the activities of Walloon competitiveness clusters and enterprise networks. It supports the clustering policies set up to develop competitiveness and innovation in Wallonia.
To increase the visibility of business networks and their members, it created in 2003 the Walloon cluster portal, which presents the competitiveness clusters and the clusters according to their fields of application & competences. Each year, this portal records an average of 74,000 visitors.
The DRE decided to carry out a complete overhaul of its portal, which was based on ageing technology. The objective: to benefit from a more attractive and dynamic presentation of content to ensure the promotion of business networks and to allow their members to make themselves known.
Among the challenges of this project:
- All the clusters had to have a single solution for the management of their site, facilitating their administration and guaranteeing a homogeneous style, while at the same time each had real freedom in the choice of the type of content for their site.
- The appropriation of the tool by the users was a key element. Indeed, each company network had to be able to manage its own sub-site in terms of content (news, events, members, etc.) in a completely autonomous manner.
- Particular attention had to be paid to the readability and ergonomics of the portal.
To meet these challenges, the DRE called upon Contraste Digital, a specialist in the Drupal solution for nearly 15 years.
Contraste Digital developed a new version of the web portal and 7 sub-sites based on Drupal. The Open Source CMS solution, chosen by the DRE, is widely used on the market and benefits from a large community and constant scalability.
In terms of methodology, Contraste Digital combined a very thorough analysis phase, providing a solid basis for the work, with great agility throughout the project to respond to specific requests.
The content of the portal was redesigned and reorganised to create sites that are very intuitive for visitors but also easy to manage on a day-to-day basis for the DRE and Cluster teams.
Deployment of Drupal 8 : Each site is deployed on a dedicated instance but uses a common distribution, this means a package of modules and themes shared with the other clusters. This ensures consistency and homogeneity in the general structure of the sites and their graphic charts.
Focus on cluster autonomy in content management : the solution has been designed so that the managers of each cluster and network can configure the pages of their site with different modules according to their needs. Each site has the same functionalities as the others, but it is up to each cluster to choose which ones to activate. There are many types of sections: articles, events calendar, news, incoming and outgoing rss feeds (news and diaries), online forms, member files, photo galleries, etc.
User Centric Design : it is the user (whether end user - the visitor to the sites; or internal user - the internal team that will manage the content of the sites) that has guided all the choices made in the implementation of the new portal. In concrete terms, this meant that representatives of the clusters were involved in the workshops held prior to development. These workshops concerned information architecture, wireframes and design.
Content coaching : each cluster benefited from specific support in order to review its own information architecture as well as all its existing content. The content was reworked to adapt to the new user-centric approach.
Interface with the Digital Wallonia company database : development of a flow allowing the retrieval of information from member companies and their integration in the form of files in the appropriate cluster site.
The Walloon competitiveness clusters offer their partners and clients a modern and dynamic image thanks to this new ergonomic and highly evolutive portal. A new information architecture and a modern approach to navigation guide users during their visit in order to lead them, in the most intuitive way, to the content they are looking for. In addition, the sites have a great capacity for evolution.
- Each cluster can change the type and location of the sections integrated into its site whenever it wishes.
- The DRE is able to quickly integrate a new competitiveness cluster or business network by offering it its own dedicated mini-site.
This will enable clusters to become better known and develop their activities in the coming years.