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Case StudyCaso de EstudioCas d'Estudi

User-Centered Website Reconstruction For a UN Agency

Websites for large organizations often evolve into unwieldy platforms. Organizations turn sitemaps into mazes by constructing navigation around internal structures instead of external use. Unless a website is user-centered, locating information is a burden, and visitors will not want to engage. In addition, websites of this size require scalable infrastructure to accommodate large traffic influxes.

These were some challenges facing the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). The agency, which promotes development through responsible, sustainable, and accessible tourism, needed its website to be a global hub for the tourism industry.

Their requirements went well beyond a website redesign. The UNWTO sought a platform that changed how their organization communicates with the world. Opentrends’ multidisciplinary team had the comprehensive skills to complete the agency’s wide-ranging goals and marry technical updates with a visual solution.

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User-Centered Website Objectives

The purpose of the project was to re-focus the website into a user-centered experience and communication center for the organization. As a global force for an entire industry, the website had to be a leading platform for tourism.

The project’s objectives and requirements put the user first:

  • Easy search, navigation, and accessibility for content
  • Optimized for Search Engine
  • Mobile-first user experience
  • Automatically scalable infrastructure with fast response time to withstand traffic peaks
  • Improved security
  • Definition and measurement of KPIs

Based on Drupal CMS & AWS Cloud Architecture 

Opentrends developed the new UNWTO website using Drupal 8 CMS. The Drupal modules met the UNWTO’s criteria and Opentrends’ discerning standards. The Opentrends team utilized standard Drupal modules and created custom modules for UNWTO.

The website’s functionalities include:

  • SEO tools including friendly URLs, meta-tagging, and A/B testing
  • Google Analytics
  • Multilanguage translations
  • Audio and video
  • Forums
  • Schedulers
  • Event manager
  • Newsletters

Opentrends designed a cloud-native Amazon Web Services (AWS) infrastructure to host the website and overcome the previous website’s limitations.

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''It has been a significant qualitative leap, leaving behind an outdated technology and digital communication approach. The result meets the expectations of new technological and visual criteria of digital communication and counts on the flexibility to adapt to new technological and communication developments.''

Marcelo Risi, UNWTO Director of Communications


Content Structure Designed For an Intuitive Experience

Urgency to update the outdated site was the project’s catalyst. In addition to upgrading the website to the new Drupal version, for the first time, prioritized the mobile experience with a visually engaging and user-friendly design.

The project’s greatest challenge was creating a logical structure for the UNWTO’s extensive content library. The previous site was an amalgamation of 35 microsites, one for each of the organization’s internal departments. As a result, users had difficulty browsing the website’s offerings, and the organization's communication was inconsistent from department to department. The old website structure left the UNWTO unable to support its objectives and communicate its important mission.

Opentrends created new categories and hierarchies for the website’s information. Users of the new website can now easily find relevant information, data, and content thanks to reduced menus, crystal-clear navigation, and robust search functions.

The sleek new design drove engagement. The new content templates incorporated visual elements to extend visit durations. Interactive maps, calendars, audio, and video were added functions to improve the user experience.

Cooperative, Interdisciplinary Development

Opentrends compiled a multidisciplinary team to approach the UNTWO’s many goals knowledgeably. The project team included a project manager, functional analyst, UX, design, Drupal development, frontend, QA, and security experts.

The team approached the project using Scrum incremental development sprints with additional sprints to perfect the QA and complete user acceptance testing.

50 stakeholders participated in project workshops, meetings, and user tests. UNWTO Communications Director, Mr. Marcelo Risi, chaired the evaluation panel to make decisions. Other UNTWO representatives on the panel provided transversal perspectives on the organization.

The participation of many UNWTO departments and governing bodies in the project’s collaborative workshops influenced the internal perception of the new website as a cultural shift in how the organization works and communicates.

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A Website Redesign to Surpass KPIs

The new is a modern, agile design that transforms the user experience and organization’s internal culture.


Within one year, the new website’s performance surpassed the KPI goals. Marcelo Risi, UNWTO Director of Communications, said, "The metrics obtained have exceeded our expectations and have continued growing since the activation of the new website."

Website Performance Success Metrics:

  • +30% increase in website users
  • +22% increase in organic search traffic
  • Increased session duration and decreased bounce rate
KPIs graphic results

As part of the website launch, the organization’s content editors attended training sessions to learn how to utilize the website’s templates and resources. These sessions set up the organization to continually create SEO-optimized content and cohere to UNWTO’s communication objectives.

"Main navigation data show that the path chosen was successful, resulting in a product that at all times responded to the exponential increase in the demand for digital communication in the framework of the COVID-19 pandemic."

Mr. Marcelo Risi, UNWTO Director of Communications

Experience Designed Websites

UNWTO Communication Director, Marcelo Risi recommends Opentrends because of “their flexibility in the interaction with the client, their empathy in the event of having to adjust those needs identified during implementation, and the technological reliability of their product, which is a key value in the era of digital communication.”

Contact us with the button below if you need a complex website that meets multifaceted goals, provides technical advances and uses a modern, user-centered design. Opentrends designs websites to digitally transform user experiences. Learn more about our experience design solutions.