UNICEF – Back on Track


UNICEF Saves Society by Saving Schools in Strife-Torn Areas

UNICEF’s “Back on Track” initiative is about an elite group of top-flight educators, architects, and consultants that get schools back up and running as soon as possible to war and natural disaster-torn regions around the world. UNICEF needed a way send separate messages out to internal and external audiences to promote the initiative to the world, and allow internal staff to communicate.

Requirements Gathered

We had been asked to build a Web site that could be easily expanded with updates submitted by a large editorial staff. The communications platform also had to accommodate a variety of media including audio and video presentations, including previously created materials that were being stored and served from media content providers. To provide more in-depth information to segments of the internal audience, the site required permission- based content partitions for viewing select content channels.

There had been a previous attempt to create the site on the Red Dot content management system, and I had to come up with another approach.

As WordPress was one of the UNICEF-approved content management systems, I architected a solution that would on WordPress that would provide an easy to use content management system that editors with no technical experience could use to update and add to the site’s content. The site also required integration with Akamai-hosted RealAudio and RealVideo as well as links to MP3, YouTube, and Vimeo videos.

The team at Big Yellow Taxi did a great job of coming up with a design within the UNICEF-approved color palette, and we were able to begin coding.

Custom Coded

To control user access to content channels, I architected an additional custom registration and login component that leveraged WordPress’ own user registration system. Additional customization and plugins were used to ensure compatibility with the Real multimedia components.

One of the main aspects that UNICEF wanted on the home page was an animated rotating feature story on the home page using Flash. I was able to track down a more modern and functional solution, using a jQuery slideshow to accomplish UNICEF’s goal of adding movement and interest to the home page, but still allow UNICEF internal staff to update the slideshow through a simple web interface, without having to edit Flash files

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