Open Access Publishing Platform for MPDL | 2020

In 2020, Max Planck Digital Library (MPDL) asked us to develop a website for their Open Access agreements with academic publishers. Faced with the challenge of aligning MPDL’s ideas with practical design, our collaborative effort led to a user-friendly, multilingual site. This project not only enhanced access to research literature across German institutions but also demonstrated our capability to effectively translate client vision into digital reality, marking a significant achievement in our portfolio.

  • The Challenge

    In 2020 MPDL tasked us with creating a website for their Open Access agreements with major academic publishers in Germany.

    Although the business goals of the project were clear, there was quite a gap to bridge between the passion which the client team felt about capturing their ideas visually and their ability to articulate these ideas in a way we could clearly understand.

    We worked with two client team members that oversaw this project, neither of whom had worked with a digital agency before, so the first challenge was one of communication, as we provided guidance to them on how to best define and document their vision and requirements.

    About the client

    MPDL (Max Planck Digital Library) plays a pivotal role in negotiating and implementing nationwide Open Access agreements with leading academic publishers. Their efforts significantly enhance access to research literature across German institutions.

    max planck logo

    The Solution

    We began with rudimentary mockups provided by the client, emphasising the red colour scheme. 

    Our developers refined these into comprehensive designs, instinctively enhancing layout and functionality. We demarcated thematic content within each page using sidebar boxes and accordion elements for efficient navigation.

    Thanks to the strong communication between the client’s main project lead and our project manager, Nick, we were able to work in small steps towards a website which the client was ultimately very satisfied with.

    Lessons learned

    The project underscored the importance of establishing clear design expectations and finalising full-fledged mockups before entering the development phase. This approach ensures alignment with client vision and smooth progression.

    Notable features

    Structured content to reflect different target groups

    Clear visual separation of content to adequately address various discrete target groups (e.g. institutions, researchers, general public), as well as sidebar boxes with additional information and resources to improve user engagement.

    Multilingual capability

    The website caters to a diverse academic audience by providing content in multiple languages.

    Measuring project success

    The website has played a crucial role in the successful negotiation of agreements with Wiley and Springer Nature. These agreements have brought thousands of German research articles into Open Access annually, markedly increasing their visibility and impact within the scientific community.