The European Synchrotron Radiation Facility
The European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) is a Particle Accelerator and joint Scientific Research Facility located in Grenoble, France. The ESRF is supported by 22 countries. Around 9,000 scientists from all over the world visit the Particle Accelerator every year. They carry out more than 2,000 experiments and produce around 2,000 scientific publications.
Their groundbreaking research focuses on the use of X-ray radiation in fields as varied as Protein crystallography, Earth science, Paleontology, Chemistry and Physics.
The ESRF is the most intense source of synchrotron-generated light there is, producing X-rays that are 100 billion times brighter than the X-rays used in hospitals. These X-rays, endowed with exceptional properties, are produced by high-energy electrons that race around the storage ring, a circular tunnel measuring 844 metres in circumference. Because of the brilliance and quality of its X-rays, the ESRF functions like a super-microscope. It ‘films’ the position and motion of atoms in condensed and living matter, and reveals the structure in all its complexity. It offers unrivalled exploration opportunities for scientists in many important areas.
Each year, the demand to use these X-ray beams increases as more and more scientists from around the world come to Grenoble, to the ESRF’s “Beamlines”, each equipped with state-of-the-art instrumentation, operating twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.
Ngoar have been digital partner to the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility since 2015. The initial challenge was to re-design and rebuild the ESRF’s website on the existing Jahia platform, with a range of innovative improvements and major structural changes.
The ESRF’s main aim was to:
1) Totally redesign, rebuild, and fine-tune its Jahia based website to be a better reflection of its leading-edge scientific excellence.
2) Deliver content-rich experiences that can be overseen by multiple authors and staff, without sacrificing interoperability or flexibility.
3) Communicate more effectively with the different target audiences that the site caters for – scientists, industrialists, education/media, and the general public.
4) Make the website a more dynamic and engaging source of news and information on the many areas of research that the ESRF projects explore.
5) Reinforce and rework a system that can easily manage global content and keep it in one central repository ensuring content can be reused and repurposed quickly across all sites.
Ngoar’s strategy was to work in collaboration with the ESRF to create, develop and integrate a new world-class website that would:
1) Reaffirm the ESRF’s thought-leadership position in global research
2) Communicate values of groundbreaking excellence and innovation
3) Inform about project news and scientific results
4) Offer quicker and easier access to the extensive content of the website
5) Inspire future generations of scientists
Ngoar worked closely throughout with Jahia. The Jahia platform had been selected for implementation because it is more compatible with and adapts better to the ESRF technical environment, as well as Jahia’s interoperability with other systems. Additionally, its web content organisation would allow for numerous contributors with varied skill levels and a large number of pages.
The new website successfully met all the key objectives and because of Jahia’s modularity can evolve and develop as the ESRF grows and its needs progress.
The website showcases a new, cleaner, streamlined modern design to more accurately reflect the organisations leading-edge reputation. The website presents the ESRF’s brand, image, and identity with a more appealing modern focus, enabling clearer communications for the various target audiences. The website is now more user-friendly, especially for scientists and industrialists, and delivers a new easier-to-navigate menu structure to make complex levels of information more accessible.
A new template set was built with variants for administrators – including full components support for content editors, a restricted list of components suitable for common site editing, and a very simplified one for inexperienced users.
Social media wall plug-in & Wallbler
To make the website a more dynamic and engaging source of news and information, a Jahia-based social media wall plug-in was initially bespoke developed by Ngoar and incorporated. This was first configured for Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
After an initial period of successful deployment this functionality was comprehensively updated as a version of Wallbler, Ngoar’s unique social media wall plug-in. This helps deliver a better, more engaging web experience and a wealth of benefits to the ESRF and their stakeholders. This powerful, flexible module enables a range of content from multiple social networks, including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube, to be easily visible and constantly updated. It showcases news and research topics, ensuring the ESRF website is continually changing and always up to date with dynamic new content.
Recent breaking news and innovative research unveiled by the ESRF include the analysis of therapeutic antibodies in the treatment of multiple sclerosis, the discovery of a new stable form of plutonium, and a new technique that shows the 3D composition of entire organic fossils.
Combining Jahia’s technology with Ngoar’s expertise has had many benefits. The website now attracts more users and collaborators. It also improves the overall experience for the facility’s industrial clients and provides a significant amount of invaluable information to the global scientific community. In such a content-dense CMS with a deep tree structure, the ease with which content can be moved around without breaking references is really important. The possibility to query the JCR repository and carry out batch script operations via the tools is highly useful and helps content maintenance operations enormously.
The European Synchrotron Radiation Facility website has been very well received by users from all three user groups, the scientific and research community, industry, and the general public, following the implementation of the social media wall plug-in Wallbler. It’s now a fresh, modern, user-focused website that’s so much easier to engage with despite the breadth, depth, and inherent complexity of its highly specialist content.
You can find out more about the ground-breaking scientific work of the ESRF at esrf.eu
“I was delighted when Ngoar were initially selected as a digital partner to the ESRF from a supplier base covering 19 countries and it was pleasing to deliver their new website on the Jahia platform within budget and on time. It’s now been further improved and updated with the latest version of Wallbler, our unique social media wall plug-in. I’m proud that our long-term relationship with the ESRF goes from strength to strength.”
MD & Founding Partner, Ngoar
“I am very impressed by the work the teams have done, both on the front-end and back-end…The whole team have been a pleasure to work with, have been attentive to my requirements and have worked rapidly and professionally, with a real attention to detail.”
Website Manager, ESRF
“It’s been incredibly satisfying to be able to work as digital partners on a range of projects of such complexity for an organisation as innovative and forward-thinking as The European Synchrotron Radiation Facility. The work the ESRF do is literally brilliant.”
Story & Communications Director, Ngoar