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The United States Institute of Peace

Added by on Fri 28th Aug 2009

Project Info

The United States Institute of Peace (USIP) is a non-partisan, congressionally-funded organization devoted to preventing, managing, resolving, and stabilizing international conflict. The organization was established in 1986 and has since grown to include over 70 specialists and an extensive network of partners and fellows.

Despite its success, USIP faces critical challenges. Since its inception, USIP has struggled with facilitating and supporting information sharing between its geographically and temporally dispersed stakeholder groups. Also, it has faced difficulty in communicating its mission to the public.
Forum One Solution

USIP decided that a redesigned web site was a necessary component of addressing its communication challenges and engaged Forum One as a strategic partner to help with the redevelopment.

The redesign initiative had four primary objectives:

  • Enable USIP experts, fellows, and partners to better manage content and share resources
  • Position USIP as an objective provider of the analysis, training and tools required to prevent and end conflicts, promote stability and professionalize the field of peacebuilding.
  • Teach the public, especially younger generations, about the field of peace making/conflict resolution
  • Provide greater access to research and online registration for training events

To accomplish these objectives, Forum One began by identifying core content needs, identifying relevant services, and outlining a new site map. This step was followed by creative design. Then, Forum One built and deployed the revamped site on the Drupal open source content management system.
USIP’s new home page design

The site now includes embedded workflows and a seamless framework for uploading, organizing, and publishing resources. Whereas USIP staff was once forced to rely on a few gatekeepers to perform key content management functions, the new site decentralizes this responsibility and enables all permitted users to quickly post and share.

Forum One was careful to choose colors and graphics that elicited an emotional response compatible with USIP’s mission. For instance, the designers chose a cool, calming color palate, free from red and other violent shades, and gave the site a clean, professional feel. They highlighted the organization’s experts and research on the front page in order to make it immediately apparent that the site is an authoritative source for information. To keep content fresh, they programmed the site to automatically populate with the latest news, site activity, and publications.

In addition to the improved look and feel, the site now better serves the organization’s priority stakeholder groups. To help policy makers find relevant opinions or policy solutions, Forum One grouped related content and divided it by issue area, rather than by just program or location. To engage nontraditional audiences like students, they added interesting photographs to much of the content; made videos, podcasts, and newsletters easier to access; and shined a spotlight on USIP’s Building for Peace project, public education center, and training programs.

USIP’s refreshed site was launched in Spring 2009. Since then, it has increased the impact of, and promoted greater awareness about, USIP projects. USIP stakeholders are benefiting from greater access to information while the organization is reaping the benefits of an effectual, high-traffic site.