Earlier this year, Engage worked with the Heritage Foundation to redesign their flagship blog, The Foundry. Our goal was to promote content sharing, social interaction and enhance overall usability. This post will highlight some of our favorite additions to the redesigned Foundry blog, beginning with the iPad and mobile skins we applied to the blog that Heritage featured in this announcement video above.
Perhaps the most important change to The Foundry was the addition of easy-to-use and intuitive navigation, allowing users to search through the thousands of blog posts by trending topics (commonly found on sites like TechCrunch.com , RedState.org, etc.) , Leadership for America (LFA) categories, featured authors, date and type.
Since The Foundry posts content on such a frequent basis, this featured content slider allows some of the most commented and current content to remain above the fold for a long as the editors desire. In addition to scrolling through the latest featured content, posts that are video-centric are marked with a play icon and will play in a modal window when clicked.
With so much fresh and high-value content regularly generated, we had to make sure that all barriers hindering participation were removed and that key best practices and industry standard techniques were implemented. This boils down to:
- Prominently displaying links to The Heritage Foundation’s presence on key social networking sites,
- Encouraging readers to like, tweet and +1 blog posts wherever possible (and convenient), and
- Featuring social engagement widgets on every page’s sidebar.
This project took place over the course of months and there were countless features added and customized. That said, I’d like to highlight three of my favorite items.
- Author Directory Plugin. In order to provide a quick and easy way to view frequent Foundry blog authors, we built a custom plugin that allows The Heritage Foundation to feature chosen authors.
- Scribe. In order to distinguish a growing part of their content, we created a Scribe logo, sidebar callouts and customized templates for any content that falls under their investigative reporting.
- Branded LFA Category Pages. The Heritage Foundation features 10 initiatives in all they do, referred to as Leadership for America, or LFA. We designed 10 separate category templates to highlight and each LFA and provide a brief overview.