Yale logo

Since its founding in 1701, Yale University has been dedicated to expanding and sharing knowledge, inspiring innovation, and preserving cultural and scientific information for future generations.

LCM is proud to enjoy a sustained relationship delivering value to Yale University.

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A modern site home to the treasures of the world.

Processes
  • Agile/Scrum
Team Leadership
  • Senior Producer
    Sean Eddings

Aligning an aging website with modern organizational goals.

The Center of the Material and Visual Cultures of Religion (MAVCOR) at Yale University sought the expertise of LCM to help bring their aging website in line with their strategic organizational goals. As an online archive of objects of religion, often accompanied by narratives or conversations, the academic source was to behave like an online museum: delivering the user to the content in the most unobstructed way so they can focus on it.

Much like a museum would, it’ll recommend related content for further exploration.

How we did it

MAVCOR is a unique peer-reviewed publication and community that gathers visual culture and hosts multidisciplinary collaborations of scholars from around the globe. This necessitates a virtual space that is the only one of its kind. Previously confined to the Yale departmental design template, MAVCOR came to us to design and develop a Drupal 7 site to enhance the functionality of their user experience, robust asset management, and spotlight their obvious visual culture.

Different devices show MAVCOR's responsive homepage.

LCM partnered with the MAVCOR team to develop new and enhanced functionality to their Fellow’s Portal, Asset Management, Material Objects Archive, and Search in a visually-centric design honoring their unique and growing community.

The new MAVCOR is a literal and virtual center of publicly accessible collaborative scholarship.

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An updated subscription system for multimedia learning resources.

Processes
  • Continuous Delivery
Team Leadership
  • Senior Producer
    Sean Eddings
  • Senior Architect
    Rob Bayliss
  • Senior Development
    Kelly McCabe

Yale University Press (YUP) sought to leverage Organic Groups in Drupal 7 to create a new site that would be easy to use and easy to maintain.

YUP, with the help of the University ITS Department, was able to manage the migration of the content and most of the functionality. They were looking for expert help with aspects of registration for two different types of users (students and instructors), authentication, and a permissions structure that would allow limited-time subscriptions to constrained sets of content. In addition, custom reports and administrative tools were needed to allow the site administrator to understand and have basic controls over user activities on the site.

How we did it

We worked with a very detailed set of specifications on this project. The team at YUP were very clear about the data structures and attributes that were needed. Drupal’s Organic Groups were the perfect solution for the needs of this project. Some parts of the site needed to be accessible to accounts with codes from a specific book. Other parts of the site needed to be available to students with access to any book.

We built two separate registration forms with different fields on each form. On the site, users self-select the form that they need to fill out. Successful registration requires a valid access code for student accounts, which are then automatically activated. Instructors are able to register without entering an access code, but those accounts need to be reviewed and activated by the site administrator. Automated emails are sent during and after registration, and notifications are sent to users when their account is about to expire.

After registration, all of the information entered during registration is visible and editable by both the user and the administrator on the user’s account page. Some custom work was needed to make this page display the correct fields in a user-friendly format. We used the Yale authentication system as the basis of the site authentication functionality; it was important, though, that the login screen not look like a Yale login screen, since most of the site users would have no direct connection with the Yale community. 

Access codes needed to be generated within the system by the site administrator for the two existing volumes of the text. All codes needed to be associated with a specific volume of the text (Book 1 or Book 2), and not be able to be transferred to a different account or otherwise be re-used. Since Books 3 and 4 were in production at the time of this project, the system needed to allow the administrators to generate the codes for content that did not yet exist so that those codes could be printed in the books. A user account needed to be able to have multiple access codes to different content with different expiration dates.

Current users would need to be migrated to the new site and matched with codes that would provide access to the correct volume and for the correct amount of time. Yale was able to perform the user migration on their own, using documentation and training provided by LCM.

The team at YUP was able to generate the needed access codes for the new books in time to meet the publisher’s deadline for including them in the printing, thus avoiding a much larger account migration if codes from the old system had been used. The new system frees up the site administrator from significant involvement in user account management, and will be fully supported by the University ITS Department for years to come.

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Massive nightly sync.

Processes
  • Continuous Delivery
Team Leadership
  • Senior Producer
    Sean Eddings
  • Senior Architect
    Rob Bayliss
  • Senior Development
    Rob Bayliss

Yale University Press has a massive collection of over 15,000 unique publications they’ve published over the past 100 years. The Press desired the ability to allow their users to browse, check inventory and purchase items directly from their Yale University Press Drupal site, which required relaunching their site on Drupal 7, integrating their collection management system and an e-commerce and fulfillment solution. After working with another vendor for over three years to get the critical nightly sync from their Microsoft SQL Server Management Studio database to Drupal sync running, Yale University Press was seeking a second opinion. 

How we did it

Working with Yale ITS and the Press, we successfully implemented a nightly sync that queries their SQL Server for changes made in the last 24-hrs and updates the records in Drupal in under 15 minutes every night at midnight.

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Modern site design, historic content.

Processes
  • Agile/Scrum
Team Leadership
  • Senior Producer
    Sean Eddings

The Yale Department of the History of Art sought a design and technical implementation partner to assist with the redesign of their website. The department wanted a more updated online presence that would remain aligned with their status as a center of academic arts excellence. 

How we did it

The team at Yale was great to work with because they were very engaged in the process. Last Call Media brought expertise in user experience, user interface, and design to the table.

We started with some proposed changes to the information architecture and user experience aspects of the site, and the feedback we received informed the work that followed. 

We offered three options of style tiles at the outset of the design process, and we were pretty excited when the Department chose the bold, modern look.

Historic
Style Tile #1: Historic
Museum Card
Style Tile #2: Museum Card
Modern
Style Tile #3: Modern

The implementation of the new design consisted of developing a custom template. The design effort was focused on the homepage and a few key landing pages. After applying the new styles to the existing content, a few minor tweaks were handled by the LCM development team to enhance the remaining pages.

Repsonsive

We created a modernized Art History website that was uncompromisingly “cool,” while maintaining a clean backdrop to showcase esteemed works of art, respected artists, and notable news and events out of a well-known Yale institution. 

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Streamlined, vibrant website for young professionals.

Team Leadership
  • Senior Architect
    Colin Panetta
  • Senior Development
    Rob Bayliss

The Yale Entrepreneurial Institute sought a design and technical implementation partner to assist with the redesign of their website. As YEI grew in size and scope, it wanted to project an image more consistent with an entrepreneurial spirit, as opposed to its former, more academically-focused website.

Profile picture for user Colin

Strategy

The Yale Entrepreneurial Institute was at a crossroads when they reached out to Last Call Media for a rethink of their web presence. Having previously based their identity around their position as an organization inside Yale, they were looking to transition to an identity that embraced the wider culture of young professionals. Last Call delivered a site design that achieved this through an open layout and bold color and font choices. We also worked with YEI to strategize a smooth user experience despite a complicated site structure, and a system of landing pages that deliver custom content based on user persona or interest.

Design

We delivered a round of style tiles to YEI depicting three potential aesthetic directions for the site. The first was conservative, being subtle in tone. The second was the boldest, utilizing a bright purple overlay on the hero image. The third was a medium between the first two, utilizing some comparatively moderate, punchy colors against an open layout.

Three screens show design directions for the YEI website.

The aesthetic in the third style tile is what wound up being selected, which we then applied to a full round of designs as shown below on the Homepage design.

The chosen design is shown in a browser window.

Last Call Media created an open and engaging user experience that communicated YEI’s vibrant personality while being an efficient tool for users to interact with and learn about YEI.

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Building a Course Book and User Management Platform in 6 weeks.

Processes
  • Agile/Kanban
Team Leadership
  • Senior Producer
    Sean Eddings
  • Senior Development
    Rob Bayliss

Introducing a post-purchase experience.

In order to provide access to additional course book material, LCM worked together with the Press, to introduce a consolidated course book and user management platform. This new platform allows instructors, teaching assistants and students to seamlessly create user accounts with different privilege levels and quickly gain access to gated resource materials to supplement their course book purchase. It also provides the Press with meaningful data about their users to support more customized user experiences and targeted marketing efforts.

With ambitious goals, a finite budget and tight timeline, we worked collaboratively with the Press to get alignment on a prioritized backlog of business requirements for this new business tool. This approach allowed the development team to deliver the features of highest impact and value first.

Before this upgrade, the Press managed over 50 disparate sites with no central reporting system.

As multidisciplinary business partners, we worked with the Press to first understand their business requirements through a review of their internal pain points, future goals and the needs of their users. This information, combined with our existing knowledge of the project, informed our approach to building the new platform.

The primary goal of this project was to provide students, instructors, and teaching assistants with access to the ancillary materials for a course book. At the outset, the resources were spread out among dozens of different sites, which made updating the resources and tracking their usage impossible. The types of resources the Press had available for each book varied from book to book, but included PDFs, videos, quizzes and other interactive content. Further, some resources for a book are only appropriate for instructors or teaching assistants, and it would be detrimental to the Press if these items were made available to students or anonymous users.  

We approached this problem by first determining what each group needed to be able to access. We fleshed out the concept of a resource, and built an admin interface to create resources attached to a specific book, group them, and manage the access level.  

Next, we determined how they would access it (the signup workflow for each type of user).  For example, students could be granted immediate access to a book’s resources as soon as they requested it as long as they were able to answer a verification question, while instructors needed additional manual verification and administrator approval, and teaching assistants would be granted access immediately by an existing instructor. We built out three distinct registration and access request workflows, and tested them rigorously to make sure they made sense to nontechnical users.  

Before this upgrade, the Press managed over 50 disparate sites with no central reporting system. This fragmented infrastructure prevented them from gathering any meaningful information about their users, was leading to missed opportunities at the Press.

Browser window displaying Yale University Press Course Resources webpage

Advanced reporting and analytics were introduced to support the goal of better defining and understanding the Press’ audience. Common questions they faced included: Who is utilizing our material? What do they find useful? What items don’t get used as frequently? To answer these questions, we worked with the Press to codify the most important data they were interested in knowing about their customers, and built a system to capture that data at key moments during the user registration workflow. On the admin side, we created a unified reporting experience that allows Press employees to manage users and obtain report data about their users through a single, powerful interface. For content usage reporting, we leveraged Google Analytics to capture segmented traffic data. The level of reporting that is now possible on the platform has helped inform critical business decisions at the Press.

Lastly, we digitalized an existing labor intensive and inefficient paper process at the Press to allow instructors to be able to request desk and exam copies of course books through their existing account. The platform replaces lengthy paper forms that had to be faxed to the Press with a digital version that prefills information based on the book and user and can be submitted easily.

The Press’ course book web presence was a scattershot of materials on several domains and on varying platforms. In order for the Press to expand, these items needed to be centralized with better organization and improved accessibility. Customers of the Press now have easier and faster access to more resource material than before, and the Press has the data it needs to support marketing efforts and future business decisions. Significant cost reductions were realized by taking advantage of consolidation and automation.