Infrastructure Journal product redevelopment

for 4C Group

  • Fully responsive redevelopment
  • Three years of iterative improvements
  • IJ acquired by Euromoney for £12.5m

We were proud to have researched, designed, and developed every aspect of IJ responsive subscription data site. We continued to work with the new owners on the integration after acquisition.

Responsive redevelopment of a global data and editorial platform

The brief

Established in 1997, Infrastructure Journal had grown into a major voice in the infrastructure finance industry by the time it joined the EMAP stable in 2007.

IJ’s reputation had been built upon high quality editorial content, backed up with the latest project and transaction information. With a wealth of data built up over nearly two decades of reporting, IJ had the potential to deliver additional value to it’s subscribers by becoming a fully-featured data insight platform. EMAP approached us to help realize their vision, bringing IJ’s architecture , technology and design up-to-date in the process.

Setting up camp with 4C Group

Infrastructure finance is a complex field, and to better grasp the task at hand we set about modelling the domain. Establishing the language and categorisation familiar to IJ’s users and staff, we began to establish how this world operates in simpler terms.

Initial IJ information architecture plan
Initial IJ information architecture plan

Having established an understanding of the industry we would be designing for, we dug deeper into the kinds of people who interact with IJ. Using both existing and our own fresh research, we developed archetypes to represent the core types of customers using the product. As well as acting as a useful reference point throughout our work, the discussions carried out during their development were extremely valuable for both team education and to validate ideas generated during earlier workshops.

IJ presonas

Over a three month period we would spend several weeks embedded with the IJ team in London, undertaking technical and UX workshops with the team at EMAP. We emerged with a clear roadmap for the following nine months, and a strong longer term vision for the product.

Going responsive

As part of our research phase we had explored how to approach the emerging multi-device landscape in an efficient way. IJ had previously relied on a stripped down editorial website, and It was felt this approach wouldn’t cut the mustard any more. The EMAP team didn’t want to dilute IJ’s offering for users on smaller screens, but couldn’t justify the development and upkeep of multiple mobile sites to suit a multitude of device sizes with differing capabilities.

IJ examples of different devices

By early 2011 the excitement around Responsive Web Design was beginning to build, but there were no responsive websites on the scale of IJ to validate the technique for a project of this size.

Our team pitched the ethos to the IJ team, and after developing some early prototypes the team took the bold decision to commit to a responsive Infrastructure Journal. At the time of it’s launch in late 2011 IJ would become one of the largest fully responsive websites in the world, and the first for an EMAP brand (later 4C Group).

The story of our work with 4C Group to deliver the new IJ was featured in the May 2012 issue of .NET magazine, the world’s best selling web design publication. The issue also featured a tutorial by Tom Prior (Head of Design), sharing the technique we used to deliver data tables responsively throughout the website.

IJ .net magazine article

Ongoing improvements and acquisition

We continued to deliver iterative improvements to the product on a quarterly basis, including improvements to the subscription process, the strategy for lead generation, and the development of interactive infographics of IJ data.

IJ Transactions page

The improvements we delivered resulted in increased membership retention, lead generation, and engagement across a broader range of devices. Infrastructure Journal was acquired by Euromoney Institutional Investor PLC for £12.5m. We worked with Euromoney to merge IJ with Project Finance to create IJ Global, one of the largest single sources of infrastructure finance reporting and data.

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