Ontario BioProducts is a directory of organizations active in the BioProducts field in Ontario. The directory includes businesses, farms, researchers, and other organizations who produce feedstocks or products, do research, or provide programs and services. The website helps connect organizations and enables them to find others to collaborate with. For example, a producer could be looking for a certain type of feedstock to use as a raw material.
The website provides a visual display of organizations, with an option to view them in a list format or on a map. There is also extensive taxonomy and search to allow users to easily refine the displays based on a several key factors. The project was initiated by the BioProducts Discovery and Development centre at the University of Guelph.
We began the project with a wireframing exercise, which helped to visualize exactly what we were planning to build. Wireframing is usually an essential step in the design process. It helps to clarify what exactly we are building, work out any decisions about the user experience, and ensures that all stakeholders are on the same page. From there, the site was built out in Drupal using a stock theme as a base. From there, we refined the design and functionality over a period of several months before launching in September, 2019.
This process let us skip a lot of arduous planning and design up front and get to a working prototype faster. It's a great choice in cases where function is more important than form.
The site makes extensive use of Drupal's taxonomy and the Apache Solr search service to create the faceted search.