The Joint Institute for Nuclear Astrophysics – Center for the Evolution of the Elements (JINA-CEE) wins the award for “longest client name,” and “coolest web design in the galaxy.” As a notable research institution at Michigan State University, JINA-CEE is mostly known for its work with the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams (FRIB), which allows scientists to observe and experiment with the nuclear physics in stellar explosions. JINA-CEE supports nuclear science research and education to help answer open questions about our universe like:
- Where do the elements come from that make up our world?
- What are the basic properties of matter when compressed to high density?
For an agency with a science-themed breakout room, you can imagine the level of excitement we had taking on this project. Gravity Works designed a striking website for JINA-CEE that encourages users to dive deeper into the mysterious world of nuclear science.
The JINA-CEE homepage design is one of our personal favorites – merging high quality imagery, a vibrant color scheme, and animated design elements to create a compelling online experience. The JINA-CEE team gave us creative freedom to push boundaries and experiment with unique design ideas. Our goal was to create an atmosphere that evokes a sense of discovery and exploration. We also needed to bring the variety of programs and research that makes JINA-CEE a leader in their field directly to the forefront.
Our front-end team worked various animated elements into the website to provide a delightful user experience, making the website more engaging and reflecting the fun side of nuclear science research. The homepage hero space features northern lights drifting across a starry sky. If you pause long enough, you may even spot a shooting star!
We applied the concept of signaling throughout the website, including the main menu. For example, when a user hovers over a menu item, a box outline appears to indicate that this is an interactive button. The “Scientific Resource” box in the top right of the homepage drops down to reveal a quick link menu with a set of interactive icons. By hovering over an event or news item, the image in the box zooms in. Nearly every clickable item has some form of subtle animation.
Audience-Specific Landing Pages
JINA-CEE provides programs, events, and other resources for a variety of audience groups – from students working toward their post-doc degrees to school-aged children learning about the basic principles of atoms. We worked with JINA-CEE to identify their major user groups, then created educational landing pages for each group, pulling in relevant content (like events and news) and allowing JINA-CEE to share other audience-specific information (like activities and programs).
News & Events
One of the primary missions of JINA-CEE is to provide researchers with opportunities to collaborate and share new ideas. The new website helps bring people together and serves as a platform to share industry news with event and news functionality. Using Drupal, administrators can easily create this type of content and choose where they want it to post.