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Cambridge Crystallographic Data Centre (CCDC)
Website redesign for the world-leading experts in structural chemistryArrow icon to scroll to content
CCDC is a non-profit organization based in Cambridge, which serves the scientific community with data and software. As world-leading experts in structural chemistry, they are responsible for maintaining the Cambridge Structural Database, one of the world’s largest repositories of chemical data. Their work is crucial in helping to further chemical, pharmaceutical, and broader scientific research and development.
CCDC approached Crucible to develop a new website that better represented its brand and community. The aim was to design and develop a website that was modern and cutting-edge while still being appealing to its target audiences of new and long-standing scientists around the world.
A key component of the project was content and data migration to the new website and CMS. As a result of many years of accumulated content, this migration had to be seamless while ensuring the new website remained user-friendly, fast, and accessible.
It was imperative to ensure scalability and future-proofing, which would allow CCDC to manage additional content and future platforms with ease.
A key aspect of the project was the development of a headless architecture built on a custom API that linked the WordPress CMS to the website’s front end, built in React. As WordPress is open-source, building the CMS headless meant greater flexibility to publish and manage content as well as having a dramatic impact on website load speeds.
To develop the overall UX and content structure of the website, the Crucible web design team explored the user journeys of CCDC’s target personas. This included detailed user research speaking to and working with CCDC’s existing users and clients. CCDC has a range of different and unique target personas, including scientists, academic researchers, pharmaceutical companies, professors, and students, which meant that it was critical to identify their specific objectives in using the website.
Through comprehensive user research, the design team were able to produce an evidence-based UI and a set of defined user journeys that would enable users to achieve their website goals seamlessly.
The information architecture of the website was completely overhauled. The new structure opted for simplicity, ease of use, and more tailored user journeys for the various different personas identified. The result caters for them whether they are considering their journey in terms of their organization, their requirements, or by a specific product. The size of the site was consolidated to fewer, more meaningful pages and the Crucible team were keen to leave no stone unturned while keeping to budget and delivering the project on time.
The Crucible web design team had the challenge of designing a website that was quiet and subtle without sacrificing modernity and delight in user interaction. The new website manages to strike a balance between being cutting-edge and discreet, with navigability being a key aspect.
This balancing act was further established through the design’s precise keylines and strongly enforced grids, supporting the categorisation of content and the site’s lightning speed.
CCDC’s investment in a new website has transformed the organization’s digital identity and navigability. What was once complicated and cumbersome is now structured, organized and modern. The use of a headless CMS has made it easier to use and saves CCDC valuable time, with a custom API that makes managing content a breeze. In addition to delivering the project on time and on budget, the Crucible team is proud to have reflected the importance of CCDC’s work on its new website. We are now looking forward to a future phase of work to help CCDC scale further, in line with their future goals.
The Crucible team took time to understand our global user base, and the new site caters for them all. The Crucible team have been responsive and helpful — and the project ran to schedule and on budget. We're truly proud of the website they've delivered us, and it is already showing performance improvements.
Marketing Manager, CCDC