New website keeps pace with Belfer Center’s scientific advances

Belfer Center for Applied cancer Science logo

(October 2015) 2015 has been an extraordinary year for Dana-Farber Cancer Institute’s Robert and Renée Belfer Center for Applied Cancer Science. First, a new $10 million gift from the Center’s long-standing supporters, Mr. and Mrs. Belfer, was announced--earmarked for paving the way to the next generation of cancer treatments. “Dana-Farber is a national treasure that deserves support from across the country,” Mr. Belfer said.

Next, the Belfer Center’s offices, laboratories, investigators, and staff were painstakingly moved into a new, state-of-the-art research home in the recently completed Longwood Center.

This all took place within a research environment where the “extraordinary”--drug discovery, novel targets, cutting-edge approaches, new predictive models--is everyone’s everyday goal.

A new online presence

The Center’s original website, however, was unable to keep up with all of these changes and achievements. Built several years ago, it did not allow Belfer Center staff to update its content without contracting with an external vendor—a costly and time-consuming process. To meet the Center’s need for a website that supports its partnerships and recognizes its achievements, the Health Communication Core (HCC) proposed to update and migrate the content and graphics of the site to an open-source platform with an easy-to-use content management system.

Screenshot of Belfer Center's homepageThis transition solved the practical problems experienced by staff charged with keeping the site vital and accurate, and also provided an opportunity for further improvements that were incorporated into the site development process, like responsive display on mobile and tablet devices. Instead of investing resources in simply replicating the current site, the Center was able to benefit from a new, strategic, technologically updated presence.

Strategic updates

Development of the new site began with a series of “discovery discussions” and creation of an audience- and goal-focused communication strategy to guide decisions about messaging, structure, and functionality.

HCC then worked with Belfer Center leadership to update the site’s content, including a new section on its key corporate and academic collaborations, which are a cornerstone of the Center’s work. Graphic design also refreshed the site’s visual approach while retaining the Belfer Center’s well-established and respected identity.

Visit the Belfer Center online:

HCC’s web development platform of choice is Drupal--a widely used, open-source, free platform with an easy-to-use content management system for keeping websites up-to-date. HCC has developed a Drupal user guide to assist our clients in keeping their site content current, and we’re always available to provide technical assistance and support.