It's easy to assume an agency like us will take a big project, deliver a site and move on, but we show clients that a website is continually under construction and improvements can always be made.

In 2007, the "Global Capacities Alert & Response" (GCR) department of the World Health Organisation (WHO) set up a Learning Management System (LMS) with Moodle. In 2015, they added Drupal to optimise the distribution of training packages and to host communities of practice. In doing so, the learning platform became "Health Security Learning Platform" (HSLP) that provides content for learners and training packages for trainers.

All members are identified with the Open ID ADS (Application Directory Service).

In order to respond to expanding demand on the use of the site by both internal and external users, they needed our help to make some improvements.

We met with the HSLP team in Lyon last year and had two days of on-boarding, understanding the pain points of the site from the eyes of the maintainers was our first priority because there were development issues the team couldn't do, such as integrating sign-on and applying security updates.

The original homepage lacked navigation making it hard to find the content.

We learned about how the HSLP programme is only a small part of GCR and when outbreaks of things such as Ebola then resources and budgets are quickly shifted around so the learning platform doesn't see consistent development. Understanding how the department works were fundamental in what steps we made next. We knew we needed to keep the HSLP secure and stable as a top priority but in just two days we have a very long list of possible changes we could make to the site and maximum impact in a short amount of time was needed to help the programme get more budget allocated to it.

Information architecture and a new header

The navigation and homepage became our priority.

The information architecture was there on the Drupal side. The site had three distinct areas, but you could only reach them via the slideshow in the centre of the screen. The Drupal menu structure provided us with a clear path. Half the task was getting the Moodle menu to follow in the same way.

We tweaked the top level menu items to sound proactive, depending on the type of user. We identified two types: students who needed to learn and teachers needed to build training courses, both user roles needed to connect and share findings.

Part of the Design decisions PDF created for HSLP to present to the rest of the GCR team.


In addition, a new section called 'Browse by topics' has been added to show online courses and training materials grouped by a specific topic.

Each topic contains a big picture to add a visual clue what the topic is about, content is then divided by 'Learn' and 'Build'. Some topics have an extra banner at the bottom where users can find more information and this is one of the areas we're looking forward to improving further.

With this, users can reduce the time searching courses through the website, and they can see all the content on the same page, providing another journey for users to get to the information they need.

Single sign-on

One of the main objectives was the implementation of a Single Sign-on in the website.

Until now, WHO was using OpenID as authentication server but it was causing tons of headaches in the support team because the account providers are WIMS, ADS and Paho, so they were always having to help with people not knowing how to login and passwords…

To solve this issue, we remove OpenID and implemented ADFS, as they were fed up with the different types of users not being able to access different platforms. There is currently a separate section for profile management without any synchronization (Drupal and Moodle) and there were remaining glitches when registered members pass from one platform to another with OpenID.

With ADFS, users have a place where they log in but can do so with any of the previous account providers, making the information and user journey more consistent.

Homepage and Calls to Action

The final step was to look at the homepage and improve the Calls to Action further. A tagline explaining what you can do on the site and four large CTAs meant the website suddenly felt alive.

Removing the slideshow meant we had room for some impact.


We feel we've managed to create a renewed sense of enthusiasm and lease of life within the HSLP team, within a limited budget. With a site that is easier to navigate around and learn from, we're not finished yet, but we're making leaps of progress with making the HSLP a place where public health officials want to learn about Health Security.

We're looking forward to helping WHO with the next phase of this important and empowering website.


Written by

Justine Pocock

Head of Design