Out With the Old
The primary challenge the PSAC brought to us was a lack of continuity between the various web properties run by their regional offices across the country. Each site had been developed independently, ran on different platforms, and provided widely different tool sets to the communications and organizing staff in each region.
The national office asked us to develop a standardized site distribution that could be rolled out by their core team for each region. Each site had to be able to function bilingually and to be modified to meet regionally-specific identity and communications differences. They also needed a set of action tools that would allow for online petitions and web-to-email actions on important issues, and that could be set up on the fly by regional staff. They knew they wanted to use open-source tools and they needed a team that could roll out a rock-solid platform on which they could build out their various regional sites.
In With the New
Raised Eyebrow recommended the use of Drupal for the project, and built both a core Drupal site that could, in essence, be copied and then localized for each PSAC region, and a tool that would allow for push-button copying of that core site, also built on Drupal. We worked with the National Office communications project lead to advise on the architecture (both content and functional) for the site framework, realize the multilingual capabilities of Drupal, and build out a set of custom action tools that would meet the organization-wide advocacy needs of the PSAC, including a tie-in to an open API tool that returns MP contact details based on postal code details. The new site framwork has since been rolled out on multiple regional sites for the PSAC.
The success metrics for this project included building a tool that would allow the national office to build out standardized websites for each region with minimal hair-pulling. It was important that the new site framework on which each future regional site would be based, was both standardized enough to bring consistency to the larger organization, while still allowing for the flexibility required by each regions individual needs.
This balancing act was achieved thanks to the solid functional architecture built out by our developers and the willingness of the PSAC team to keep the big picture in mind when making decisions throughout the process. Concrete improvements to URL structures, taxonomy systems, search engine optimization and standards-based coding were also factored into the project’s success criteria.