The Electronic Intifada v1.0-3.0 (news, winner of 2003 ADC "Voices of Peace" award)
Above: EI v2.0 homepage.
The Electronic Intifada (EI), found at electronicIntifada.net is an alternative news website dedicated to communicating the Palestinian experience of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Originally launched in 2001, the site was visually and structurally redesigned in 2002 to incorporate server software that allows multiple editors around the world to update content through a simple interface accessible via any web browser. A third redesign in 2003 further developed the site. nigelparry.net consultants Nigel Parry and Ken Harper, a former MSNBC.com multimedia specialist, worked on both redesign projects.
In June 2003, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) presented its Voices of Peace Award to Nigel Parry and the co-founders of The Electronic Intifada and sister site Electronic Iraq "in recognition of its commitment to bringing the concerns, voices, and experiences of the Iraqi and Palestinian peoples to audiences the world over via the Internet."
The server software used on the Electronic Intifada offers automatically-generated dissemination-friendly "Print This", "E-mail This" and webfeed syndication features. Following the first relaunch of the Electronic Intifada on the new content management system, the site immediately saw visits double to over one quarter of a million a month. During times of crisis, the site has seen as many as 600,000 visitors in a month.
In June 2003, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) presented its "Voices of Peace" Award to Nigel Parry and the co-founders of The Electronic Intifada and sister site Electronic Iraq "in recognition of its commitment to bringing the concerns, voices, and experiences of the Iraqi and Palestinian peoples to audiences the world over via the Internet."
Above: The Electronic Intifada homepage after the Fall 2003 redesign. Version 3.0 of EI consolidated the site, which grew from a simple media analysis resource focused on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to the premier Palestinian Internet news source. A dynamic multimedia feature panel on the top of the site allows site maintainers to upload 2 image files and 4 text files to create an dynamic presentation highlighting key new articles and features on the site. The various sections of the site are grouped under four categories: News & Analysis, The Media, Action & Activism, and EI Extra. Each of these meta content sections has a unique multimedia feature panel highlighting a key story or feature on the site. EI's website is updated constantly, and offers an extremely wide range of material relating to all aspects of the conflict.
Each of the section index pages of the site, eg. Opinion/Editorial (pop-up view) has a panoramic image. In article pages in the same section, this image shrinks to a recognisable crop (pop-up view).
On the four meta indexes -- pages which feature the most recent content from sections in a theme, eg. News & Analysis (pop-up view) -- the panoramic image area is occupied by a dynamic multimedia panel.
At the top of the page, in the black navigation bar, Java roll-over buttons offer visitors access to the main functions of the Electronic Intifada: information about the site, its related e-mail lists, how to donate to support the project, and coordinates at which to contact EI's editors.
Under the top right of this bar, a search box is consistently found in the same location throughout the entire website, including a search-narrowing section pull-down menu and an Advanced Search link (pop-up view) which offers a variety of search options including Google Free Search, Author Search, and ways to search both the main site and the Yahoo-style BY TOPIC directory (pop-up view).
The homepage (pop-up view) offers a range of featured articles from across the site, with the option of jumping to any of the four meta content sections: News & Analysis, The Media, Action & Activism, and EI Extra. The top right feature area offers headlines from the most recent articles added to the site with an option of accessing detailed summaries of the same articles. On the right bar, links to recent articles by EI founders and syndicated headlines from sister news site, Electronic Iraq.
REINFORCING SECTION IDENTITY WITH VISUAL CUES
Above: EI's For Activists section. When version 2 of the site was launched in Fall 2002, meta section images and colors were coordinated to communicate a strong section identity. The "3 Flags" image on the FOR ACTIVISTS meta section communicates a strong protest identity and the red navigation bar and parts of this image are reused at both index and article levels of subsections to reinforce visitor orientation while navigating the website. In version 3 of the site, the FOR ACTIVISTS section became ACTION & ACTIVISM, a meta content section that contains the Activism News, Action Items, and Letters to the Media sections of EI.
Above: Index page of EI's Activism section, as of v2.0 of the site. Brief summaries of articles and a small image are offered to visitors. Visitors can search within feeds and date ranges with the "Advanced Search" facility in order to find the content they are looking for.
Above: Article page in EI's Activism section as of v2.0 of the site. Larger images are offered in articles. Notice that the "3 Flag" image remains but gets smaller as visitors transition from the For Activists section to the Activism feed, to specific articles in the feed.
Above: The index page of EI's Opinion/Editorial news feed. If website budgets or organisational networks allow access to a pool of images, the visual appeal of the website is greatly enhanced.
EI is a great portfolio site because nigelparry.net had the chance to regularly redevelop the site as it expanded, and as a result the Electronic Intifada has grown into a highly professional website with excellent navigation, a dynamic and attractive design, and regular updates from a dedicated team. It is a bad portfolio piece as clients may be tempted to want an EI-type site without having either the financial or human resources to produce one. Big, successful news sites like EI require an enormous amount of daily attention and access to quality graphic design help for maintenance. nigelparry.net consultants continue to develop content for the site and improve the design of the site in response to new reporting challenges.