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Collaborative Platform to Share Data on Sustainable Development

Case Study

Collaborative Platform to Share Data on Sustainable Development


CESOP-Local needed a digital platform to serve as a centralized hub for managing data, with the ability to provide access through two different environments - one private for interactions with municipalities and another public for presenting results to civil society.


The Center for Studies and Opinion Surveys (CESOP)







CESOP-Local is an applied research unit from the Catholic University of Lisbon, with the mission to conduct applied studies in administrative territories, based on the 17 Goals and 169 Targets of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

They were looking for a tech partner to build a platform to administer data through two types of environments, one private for interactions with the municipalities and another public to present the results to civil society.

Marzee was responsible for the design and development of a full structure for content management and a Forum to share data sets. Our team is currently responsible for the maintenance and evolution of this platform.

Discovery Phase

The first phase of the project included understanding CESOP-Local needs and goals, aiming to build a simple and elegant solution. For this, we followed through with a series of conversations that resulted in the development of a complete project spec sheet.

Presentation image of two pages with the CESOP logo on its left side

The whole content structure and hierarchy, as well as all the intervening actors and their roles, were precisely defined within a spec sheet before implementation, making it a straightforward task to define within the platform's administrative interface itself.

For the private environment, the Marzee team decided to create a Forum to allow for interactions between the CESOP-Local team and the different municipalities involved, making it easy to understand how the municipalities in Portugal are dealing with the UN Sustainable Development Goals in their territory.

Tech Stack

Having in mind that CESOP-Local team needed to be able to share data with a wide range of stakeholders, both privately and publicly, the Marzee team decided that using Drupal to deliver a robust Content Management System (CMS) would be beneficial to the project.

Drupal's architectural solidity offered a strong base for project developement. Contributed modules carry the benefit of being extensively tested and documented by the Drupal community, giving us greater quality and stability assurance. Several of these were used, for example, for communication forms, internal analytics integration, basic forum functionality implementation, and management of scheduled events.

We used to host the production site. It links directly to the Github code repository, which gives us separate work environments for previewing and testing different active lines of work.











Project Highlights

The project was managed mainly via Github issues and projects, where we planned ahead the several stages of releases and sprints and gathered feedback from the client (and gave our own) on specific tasks.

  1. Design components

    At this stage, we started by analysing the design components and elements needed for the web application. We planned how they would be featured on the web platform and relate to each other.

    We took an incremental system approach - from simple buttons to more complex elements like teasers or slider blocks. The result was presented in a design language document. This paved the way for a logical growth procedure and allowed us to preview the styling of all elements before starting to build the site. This approach assures a solid visual language for the web platform and facilitates client interactions.

    Design System
  2. Development

    For this project, we opted to begin with setting up the Drupal base theme. We started implementing the components we defined in the previous stage into HTML markup and CSS styling. The same incremental procedure is applied here, from singular to complex elements.

    In addition to the structuring of the theme, we also developed some dynamic logic in our templates.

    For the private environment, we created a Forum to allow for interactions between CESOP-Local team and the different municipalities involved, making it easy to understand how the municipalities in Portugal are dealing with the UN Sustainable Development Goals in their territory.

    Much of the portal’s core functionality, such as content hierarchical custom navigation, opinion feedback (“Likes”), and e-mail notifications, were made in-house, always in close relation with the CESOP-LOCAL team, employing short and thorough cycles of goals definition - implementation - testing - feedback, in order to meet expectations and deliver high-quality results.

    Because it is almost fully self-configured and self-managed, the go-live was made with barely more than a flick of the switch, ready to be used by the CESOP community right at that moment. Any subsequent updates and maintenance patches can be delivered on command immediately after being implemented as well.

  3. Agile

    The project was conducted from a SCRUM perspective, implementing several sprints. A key aspect was enabling end-users to do compliance monitoring and follow-up for each sprint. The tools used for project communication were Skype and GitHub.

  4. Documentation

    Most of the documentation was done within the code itself to facilitate comprehension and easily relate it to specific portions of the code base. Highlights and more generalized instructions were gathered within readme files or transmitted directly to the CESOP-LOCAL team as we worked on them.


What have they achieved after Marzee?

This project enabled the possibility of providing a website where information could be gathered in a controlled sharing environment.

The platform enabled the research team to share data with municipalities and gather information on their success regarding UN Development Goals. It also serves to make public their findings and success cases so more people are informed about what they are doing.

CESOP-Local has a clean and performant web platform with good performance scores and strong assessability.

Lighthouse Score