Four Kitchens

Stanford University School of Humanities and Sciences

The School of Humanities and Sciences (H&S) is the center of a world-class liberal arts education at Stanford University and came to us for a full redesign

H&S encompasses 23 departments and 24 interdisciplinary programs (IDPs). As the university’s largest school, H&S serves as the foundation of a Stanford undergraduate education no matter which discipline students pursue as a major. All undergraduates take a range of courses in H&S that challenge them to think critically about the world and their roles in it

Stanford’s major strategic goal was to create a strong web presence with an accessible and modern redesign that inspires the many audiences about the school’s mission, priorities, and work as well as provides clear information for students, donors, staff, and other stakeholders about the school’s departments, IDPs, and initiatives

After our initial conversations, H&S was confident in our ability to handle a large scale Drupal 8 project, and they responded well to the build methodology that we’ve honed over the years. Our partner, Wire Media, worked together with a core team on Stanford’s staff to crystalize their vision and bring it to life through an in-depth redesign process

Key technical requirements delivered

Streamlined content

  • Developed maintainable list structures to allow for easy categorization and filtering for academic departments and grants & fellowships, via Drupal 8’s Views and custom ordering
  • Created a robust search system using Solr that allowed users to find content on the site easily
  • Created a news section that was based on another, separately maintained site, used to keep content fresh, but also drive traffic to that site as the canonical source for that content using a custom integration of Stanford’s existing RSS feed
  • Created a staff page using a specific, regimented ordering system that showed users staff in an understandable ordering based on departments

Easily editable content, at different permission levels

  • Built a site that allows administrators to develop individual components using a mix-and-match style that allowed different areas of the site to look differentiated and interesting
  • Used Panelizer and Node Displays to create repeatable and extensible designs

Created a visually rich web presence

  • Provided structure to the design process by setting some ground rules, through the use of our internal library of pre-built component prototypes and design system in Pattern Lab
  • Implemented an eye-catching “curtain” transition effect on the homepage, to reveal the site’s content underneath
  • Advised throughout the design process in order to catch and resolve potential technical, UI, or accessibility issues with the design early on before they became problems

After the initial project

Four Kitchens continues to enjoy a relationship with Stanford H&S post-launch, with ongoing support for fixing small bugs and other minor improvements.