A platform for European communities

With  Namahn

Year  2020


Through the OpenEuropa project, DIGIT – the EU department for Informatics – aimed at developing a joint Drupal 8 community platform for a variety of European community sites. This future platform would be used by EASME and a number of DGs, which are currently using their own platforms, all separately developed, but with similar needs.

We supported the project in two phases: the definition of shared requirements for the future platform, and the elaboration of a conceptual and detailed design of a sample community platform, to act as a reference for the development of a shared component library.

The poster summarising high-level functional and non-functional requirements for the future platform


For the definition of shared functional and non-functional requirements of the future platform, we conducted a set of collaborative workshops with a variety of DGs participating in the project, to gather both general and community-specific needs. In this process, we defined a set of mandatory functional requirements and nice-to-have features.

Reviewing the conceptual design during a collaborative workshop

To move on with the creation of a sample community platform, we chose the sample topic of climate activism. We conducted collaborative workshops with the DGs to define a generic sitemap and low-detail, conceptual design. To proceed with the detailed and visual design, we studied the existing European Commission Library, to ensure consistency across sites by reusing existing components. To this aim, we performed a gap analysis with the help of the DG responsible for the EC design system.

To finalise the screens, we created new components for community-specific interactions and performed usability tests with users from different communities. We illustrated the desktop and mobile version of the final screens, that we presented to the larger group of DGs. We finally assisted the developers to ensure the functional requirements would be correctly implemented.

Sample pages of the future platform, illustrating the combination of existing and new components

My role

I was the main UX/UI designer in the project. I facilitated the workshops, produced the visual deliverables, wireframes and visual design, assisted the developers during the implementation phase.

Key learnings

Beside improving in both strategic and digital product design, I better understood the challenges of adopting a design system across a variety of organisations which, despite being part of the same government, tend to maintain their autonomy and identity. Co-creating and visualising the ideal future is a powerful process to create momentum and generate consensus. Still, digital product design may not be sufficient without in-depth stakeholder management efforts.

In the team

  • Koen Peters (design lead)
  • Kristel Van Ael (facilitator)