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Inside View: Finding a New Way

Last week, I had to find my way to a new place without the help of my smartphone.

No automatic mapping. No GPS to show me where exactly I was. No disembodied voice reminding me where to turn.

It reminded me of when I moved here, and I got the first edition of the Raleigh-Durham road atlas. I’m not sure it could get me from Raleigh to Chapel Hill today. Interstate 540 was merely proposed. Wake Forest was a dot on the map. And Morrisville and Apex lacked the many residential and commercial developments and side streets that define them today.

Still, that was a great map in the 1990s. But things changed.

Similarly, we launched the current version of our website in 2010. We’ve added sections and tweaked elements of the design along the way. But four years later, NCBiotech is different. Things changed. We need a new map.

So today we’re launching a reorganized website. (Editor's note: starting at 5:30 p.m. EDT!)

Behind the process

This wasn’t a spur-of-the-moment change. During the last year, NCBiotech made extensive changes to programs. We wanted our website to reflect this.

Screen shot of new navigationWe also wanted it to be centered on you, the people who visit our site every day. We wanted to structure it the way you look for content, not the way we’re organized internally to provide it.

So we put a bunch of people around a table. We wrote some personas – profiles of the kinds of people who visit our site. And we imagined what they’d be looking for.

As with any of my projects, many Post-it Notes were involved. And white boards. And, thanks to our web director, Trello. The end result is more simple, more direct and, we hope, more accessible for you.

A Site Tour

First, this is technology. So we’ve provided a quick tour of the changes. (Please try the tour in Chrome or Firefox if you have issues in IE)

But if you want to read it all in one place, here goes.

  • Funding – One of the first things people find out about NCBiotech is that we provide grants and loans. We’ve grouped these programs, along with connections to external funding and proposal tips, in one section.
  • Business Services – This is NCBiotech’s secret sauce. Our scientific and business experts know things that will help your business grow. We call them non-funding programs internally, but we thought you’d recognize this term. Find entrepreneurial resources, our NCBiotech library and conference center here.
  • Jobs Services – Here the rubber meets the road. Browse the latest job listings, find a networking event, or research your career options. This section is designed to have broad reach for life science professional across North Carolina, and those who wish to join our ranks.
  • News and Events – We report what’s going on in the state’s life science community. We can’t be everywhere, so this section also features our blog and news written externally. We have a calendar full of events taking place across the state. Not sure which event to attend? Try our professional groups page, which features a couple dozen specific opportunities. Finally, it’s never too early to start thinking about joining the North Carolina pavilion at BIO 2015.
  • About Us – It’s the universal web standard, NCBiotech style. We have the standard directories, contact information, and press room. But we’ve also included a primer on biotechnology. And don’t forget to read how biotech is making a major impact on North Carolina.
  • Biotech in NC – Want some industry stats? Looking for your regional office? Wondering what cool applications of biotechnology are happening in North Carolina? This is your spot. Our directory of 600 life science companies and more than 2,000 support companies also resides here.

Whew!

That’s a lot! But we’re not finished. We have a success story module launching soon. And we’ll make some more adjustments to smooth things out.

Most importantly, we want to know how we did. Can you get to what you’re looking for faster? Is there something we overlooked? That’s what the comments are for. Let us have them!

(Editor's note: This blog was posted in advance of the actual navigation launch. Links will be added as the sections become live. Bear with us Tuesday evening, Sept. 2, as the changes launch.)

 

Comments

very very good

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