Online Climate Knowledge Sharing Clinics with UNFCCC: Lessons learned

Earlier this year, the UNFCCC secretariat approached the CKB Coordination hub to get the CKB Group’s support for the redesign of the UNFCCC web portal TT:CLEAR (www.unfccc.int/ttclear). This followed the secretariat’s participation in the workshop in 2015. A user survey of the site – which is the UNFCCC home for all climate technology information – revealed that a large majority of users thought the actual information on the website was useful and of good quality, yet many respondents also thought the site was difficult to navigate. The secretariat started a redesign process for the portal, and decided they wanted to see what experienced peers from the CKB could offer in terms of advice and expertise. Thus, the first ever CKB Online Knowledge Sharing Clinics came to be!

In two sessions on the 28th and 29th of July, twelve CKB experts from five continents were given an exclusive sneak peek at the design for the new TT:CLEAR website. They offered both highly specific comments and general advice on the do’s and don’ts of building a knowledge portal. Both sessions resulted in lively discussions and a long list of useful suggestions and thought-provoking questions. Some of the items on this list will be useful for people and organizations considering a redesign of their website:

  • How do you make your redesigned website easy to navigate for new users without making your old users feel like you are treating them like rookies (e.g., by spelling out acronyms)?
  • Do words like ‘database’ and ‘portal’ signal that your website is serious and reliable, or are they unnecessarily technical and scary to laypeople? Is it useful for your users to know about the technical structure behind the page, or should they only get the information they are looking for?
  • How do you find the right balance between following current trends and making sure your website design is sustainable in the long term? How much will you be able (and want) to change on the design level before you need to call a programmer?

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Both the ‘patient’ and we at the CKB Coordination Hub thought the Online Knowledge Sharing Clinics were a great success. We think the concept matches the CKB perfectly: the clinics bring together people from all over the world to share their different perspectives on the same challenge. Bringing together this variety of experiences and backgrounds online resulted in rich discussions and interesting new insights, without any need for travel. This new format makes the clinics extremely accessible, since all that is needed to join is an internet connection and a free hour.

If you would like to benefit from the CKB’s collective expertise and bring your challenges to a knowledge sharing clinic, on- or off-line, please contact us at info@climateknowledgebrokers.net.

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