Future-proofing UNICEF’s Adolescent Data Portal

Project overview

Following our work on making UNICEF’s data portal more accessible and appealing in 2019/20, we began the ADP (Adolescent Data Portal) project. This adolescent specific data portal showcases global, regional and country level data on key indicators together with information on the socio-economic contexts in which adolescents live.

This website was originally developed by a different vendor as a WordPress CMS based website and we were invited to review it. Following our technical assessment, we identified a need for several fixes as well as the addition of some new features, in order to create a robust site that will serve UNICEF in the long-term.


  • Mini discovery process
  • Foundational technical fixes
  • Creation of a new technical base (using Granola)
  • Standardised brand design
  • Data warehouse integration
  • Streamlined editorial experience


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Mini discovery

Before starting this project, we needed to review the needs of the organisation and its stakeholders, to ensure that as well as creating a technically sound website, we also met the needs of both its intended audience, and those who are responsible for keeping the content up to date and relevant.

To this end, we held a mini discovery session with UNICEF. Thanks to an incredibly focused team, we were able to use this session to create a functional Information Architechture for the new site, allowing us to quickly move straight in to the design stage.

Creating a sold technical foundation

For long-term stability of the ADP website, we took a hybrid approach of both fixes to the existing code, and comprehensive redevelopment.

Using our industry-leading, open source Granola framework for WordPress, we created a new technical base for this website. This new base meets the highest standards of code for security and maintainability, as well as a strong foundation for meeting performance and accessibility requirements.

On top of this foundation, we created the frontend and backend functionality using a combination of code from the latest UNICEF Data code base (which was also built using Granola), incorporating portions of the existing ADP code base that were suitable for reuse, supplemented with new code.

This hybrid approach ensured that we had a strong technical foundation to work from before moving to the development stage.

Creating a consistent brand experience

For the design phase, we referred back to the guidelines we used for UNICEF’s main Data website. By standardising the design of the ADP website, this helped us to create a more uniform brand experience across UNICEF’s online presence.

Creating this consistency of both design and code allows for cost efficiencies for UNICEF in the future by enabling some design features and functionalities to be reused on more than one website. 

Data warehouse integration

As with UNICEF’s Data website, we needed to create custom APIs to allow us to integrate the ADP site with UNICEF’s data warehouse. 

Finally, we created a standard editorial experience for the site, to offer greater accessibility to a wider editorial team within UNICEF.

Continuous improvements

The end result is a robust new website that will be easier for the team to update and maintain for years to come. For users, the new site seamlessly provides the same brand and intuitive user experience that audiences have come to expect from UNICEF. Based on our success so far, we’re now moving forward with additional specific data profiles, and further refinement of accessibility and UX across all UNICEF data sites.