Make the Ageless Wisdom of Tibet Available to All

by Berzin Archives e.V.
Vetted
Website development team at work
Website development team at work

These last three months, we’ve been making great strides in preparing our new updated website: Here’s a brief list of what we’ve accomplished:

  • We have interviewed multiple users in order to clarify the requirements for the new website
  • Finalized the information architecture of the site
  • Continued optimizing our content management system for generating and editing the pages on the site
  • Conducted a keyword analysis with our search engine optimization consulting agency, Orainti, to optimize renaming the articles for the new website
  • Filmed several short videos with introductory material for our Youtube channel
  • Started work on our first animated video with the Munich animation studio Kurz Gesagt
  • Prepared a content distribution model for the various digital channels on which our materials will appear
  • Worked on a promotional strategy with an advertising agency provided by Global Giving.

Thank you for your continuing support. With your help, we will make the wisdom of Tibet even more easily available through our new site.

Links:

Website development team at work
Website development team at work

Since the launch of the new version of our website, Next Berzin Archives, on May 20, we have been receiving only positive feedback from our readers. Just two examples: “Thanks to you, I am able to apply the Buddhist teachings to everyday situations, and I slowly see the positive effect of it on my reactions to problems.” And, “Thank you for this wonderful new site. Now I have something clear and understandable that I can show my parents and friends when they ask what I’ve been so interested in.”

Since the launch, we have been working hard on continuing with further development of our new site. During these last three months, we have been gradually adding more features. These include improved navigation and a newly constructed internal search engine with an integrated glossary feature. In the process, our programmers have fixed many bugs in the front-end and back-end code.

On the basis of three extensive closed and open user tests and detailed research of our user audience, we have updated the informational architecture of the beginner and intermediate sections. We have started to provide short articles that address the principal queries about life made in Google. The second version of the new site with the revised beginner section went online August 24, with 115 English articles and 5 guided meditations. All articles on the new site have either been re-edited from the old site or newly written. In preparation for adding our first 5 languages sections to this basic English framework, we have re-edited or newly translated 118 articles. We have also developed a strategy for migrating the rest of the content from the old website to the new domain (nearly 5,000 articles in 21 languages, plus 1,275 audio files and 315 videos).

 We have developed and implemented the first of our new engagement mechanics, a new strategy for our Facebook page. As a result, we have increased engagement of our Facebook users by 600%. We have also started an SEO (Search Engine Optimization) audit to prepare the site for Google indexing. Already, however, even without visits coming from Google search, but coming only from the old site and Facebook, the basic KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators) we have defined and measured indicate great success. Compared to the English section of the old website, the new site has seen a 33% increase in the average number of pages viewed per session, a 43% increase in the average session duration, and a 1.4 times increase in the number of sessions lasting more than 10 seconds. We have not only succeeded in retaining our old users, but they clearly appreciate all the improvements.

 Many further exciting features are in the planning stage as we continue step-by-step development of the new website project. With your continuing support, we will be able to utilize to the full the latest Internet advances to make the wisdom of Tibet accessible to all.

Testing the new website display on mobile devices
Testing the new website display on mobile devices

Links:

New website planning session 1
New website planning session 1

On May 20, 2015, we launched the first release of our new website, next.berzinarchives.com. As the minimal viable product (MVP), this first version contains 89 English articles – either newly written or re-edited from the old website, as well as guided meditations hosted on SoundCloud. With the essential functionality features in place, it now serves as the framework for the multi-step, iterative development of the site to its full size.

For this first version, the award-winning Berlin based IT studio, Edenspiekermann AG, has created a unique visual style for the website, a new information architecture and content structure, a user interface modeled on main user journeys and extensive user testing, a responsive layout tested to display properly on the most common mobile devices, and a content strategy for working with search engines and social media. In addition, they have developed a new content management system for constructing the website, moved the site to a new hosting, set up and implemented a new mail server, and prepared Google Analytic testing tools to evaluate the new site. Work has already begun on the next phase of development, which will include creation of internal search mechanics and development of a new glossary tool.

During these three months, we have focused our efforts on the new website. We have not neglected, however, work on expanding the content of the old site. We have added 173 new articles and translations, 16 new audio files and 7 new video. The old site received 0.55 million visits during this period.

Many new exciting content and features are on the way with the new site. Thank you for your ongoing support, help in making it all possible.

New website panning session 2
New website panning session 2
Next Berzin Archives website homepage
Next Berzin Archives website homepage

Links:

With H.H. the Dalai Lama in Frankfurt Germany
With H.H. the Dalai Lama in Frankfurt Germany

During the last three months, we have continued expanding the content of the Berzin Archives website. During this period, we completed preparation and put newly online 151 articles, 16 audio files and 6 video files in our 21 language sections, and the website received over 0.5 million visits. We have also completed construction and released online an open source multilingual glossary of Buddhist technical terms used in Berzin Archives. You may explore it through the link given below.

Together with our IT assistant, our project developer and data analyst have continued development of the next release of our internal tools to include invoice management and a task management tool for each language team.

We have contracted the renowned Berlin IT studio Edenspiekermann AG to construct the next version of the website. In the initial workshop with one of their directors, the designer and front-end/back-end programmer who will be responsible for the project, our project developer and data analyst described the requirements for the first sprint. Based on the results of our data analysis of the current version of the website, they analyzed a first solution to its shortcomings. Together, they specified six typical users and defined their goals, chose the technologies to be used in the project and prioritized the main functions that need to be implemented in the first beta version release. The first two-week sprint begins March 3 and the first release is anticipated at the conclusion of four sprints.

For this first release of a minimal viable product (MVP), we have developed a content strategy of 50 key articles in English and have gathered and optimized all key parts for producing it on the new website. We have also started work on a prototype of the first course for the planned Berzin Academy division of the new website. The academy will provide interactive progressive courses for training in emotional intelligence and other key topics drawn from the resources of the archives.

We are very excited about these new developments. Thank you for your continuing support that is helping to make all this possible.

Links:

From my desk in Berlin
From my desk in Berlin

During the last three months, in addition to continuing to expand the content of the Berzin Archives website, we have started to focus more attention and resources on technical development. Therefore, we have hired an experienced data analyst to assist our project manager with the planning and development of the new intranet system for our teams and the next version of the website. Together, they have made an in-depth data analysis of the usage of the present internal resources of the website. This has included the present multi-lingual team glossary and the communication mechanism currently used within and among the language teams. Based on their analysis of the behavioral patterns of the team members, they have drawn up the requirements and started development of the new version of the team glossary and are testing a new work-flow management system and a mechanism for automating invoices and payments. Our technical assistant is concurrently developing a new database for the storage of all the stages of the workflow of the language sections.

In addition, our data analyst and project manager have made an in-depth analysis of the reader usage of the content of the website. This is needed in order to optimize the organization and presentation of the content for the different language groups in the new version of the website. They have then started to gather the requirements for this new version.

Exciting developments lay ahead. Thank you for your continuing support that is helping to make all this possible. You can see the progress we have made in expanding our language sections in the attached file.

Links:


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Organization Information

Berzin Archives e.V.

Project Leader:
Alexander Berzin
Berlin, Berlin Germany

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