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A national treasure migrated to AWS with no downtime

Processes
  • Agile/Kanban
  • Continuous Delivery
Team Leadership
  • Senior Producer
    Sean Eddings
  • Senior Architect
    Rob Bayliss

StoryCorps is an independently funded organization that collects, shares, and preserves people’s stories to remind people of our shared humanity, to strengthen and build the connections between us, to teach the value of listening, and to weave into the fabric of our culture the understanding that everyone’s story matters. All collected stories are stored in their online archive, accessible to the public upon submitting a request or listening to recordings at various public library listening rooms. StoryCorps reached out to LCM for ongoing support and assistance with migrating their site’s archive of roughly 27TB worth of interviews and information to a new AWS platform.   

The main StoryCorps Archive access point was built on a robust Drupal platform consisting of over 60,000 interview records and approximately 27TB of associated metadata, WAVs, MP3s, JPGs and PDFs. The StoryCorps Archive platform connected with several critical business systems and performed around-­the-­clock ingests from their on­site storage arrays to the Drupal system, via rsync. StoryCorps was looking for a trusted and capable firm to migrate their entire Archive— including the website, connected services, and media— from their single-­server host to a combination of Amazon Web Services (AWS), EC2, S3 and Glacier.

Last Call Media performed a thorough analysis and audit of all StoryCorps’ source data prior to and following the massive migration. We worked closely with StoryCorps’ internal Digital Team and engineering consultants to design, test, implement, and ultimately maintain the new AWS server infrastructure.

The archive is now running smoothly on a robust AWS setup, configured to allow the platform to efficiently scale and grow as the archive does; to the next 27TB and beyond.   

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Learning Page Redesign.

Processes
  • Agile/Kanban
  • Agile/Scrum
Team Leadership
  • Senior Producer
    Kelly Albrecht

Working with the International Land Coalition gave us another opportunity to use our agile design process, generating ideas and a few unique solutions.

ILC has a lot of work going on around the world and we wanted to give users a way to explore the content on the site about each specific project that’s going on and the members involved.

Our approach was to focus in on the exploration aspects. What would give users the best sense of context of these global projects? How do we give attention to the members involved? What’s the best experience for sorting through the variety of project categories, subcategories and locations? And how do we present all this information without overwhelming the user?

How We Did It.

Building a relationship at the start

It was crucial we let ILC know that this is a journey we’ll both overcome together and they have our full support, as well as expertise with regards to questions or insight. They had many different goals for the project, but with the specifics undefined, we worked with them to help figure out the details and create a fully-realized vision.

The project’s dynamic was healthy constant dialogue between our creative team and everyone on the ILC team. We listened to their insights, we heard the things we needed to consider and the parameters we should work within. As things progressed, we started checking off the points on everyone’s checklists in order to be confident about the direction we were going.

First problem: Tools for finding relevant content

As mentioned before, ILC has many internal organizational projects. We needed an experience that helped users easily find content relevant to them. We mocked up a few ideas for a filter mechanism then iterated, each time pointing out the pros and cons then making changes specific to the drawbacks. This was our solution:

Image of ILC Filter
Image of ILC Learning Page Filter

The thought process behind it was pretty straight forward. Present a lot of options and information without overwhelming the user, make it accessible while browsing and allow some filter terms to tell their own story on hover. It took a few tries to get here, but we believe it accomplishes those goals.

Second problem: The Map

I mentioned context earlier, during the project we decided a map did a great job of showing the global reach of ILC.  We utilized the core framework of an existing map on their website but completely redesigned the visuals and added a little more functionality. On first load, we show users the globe with a few markers showing the number of their members. Users from there have the ability to zero into an area or region of interest, finding which member(s) are doing work and what the projects going on in those areas are. Here’s the break down:

Image of ILC Learning Page map
Image of ILC Learning Page map

Our work was well received by the ILC board and our solutions for giving their site users the best sense of context of resource content from all over the globe was deployed on time and budget. Site users are now experiencing new ways to learn about ILC members through new ways of exploring a variety of categories and locations.