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Reimagined on Drupal 8, in six sprints.
Rainforest Alliance
Processes
  • Agile/Kanban
  • Agile/Scrum
Team Leadership
  • Senior Producer
    Kelly Albrecht
  • Senior Development
    Jeff Landfried

In the fall of 2016, the Rainforest Alliance and Last Call Media launched an exciting redesign of www.rainforest-alliance.org, built on Drupal 8, employing seasoned agile software development methodologies. Our productive partnership with the Rainforest Alliance resulted in a technically groundbreaking site that allowed users unprecedented access to the riches of their content after just four months of development.  The tool is now primed to drive the Rainforest Alliance’s critical end-of-year development activities. 

People seem really, really happy with it. YAY!!

Danielle Cranmer, Web Manager

How we did it

Over the years, RA has cultivated a repository of structured content to support their mission. While the content is primarily displayed as long form text, there is a wide variety of metadata and assets associated with each piece of content.  One of the primary goals of the new site was to enable discovery of new content on the site through automatic selection of related content driven by the metadata of the content the user was viewing.  Additionally, RA had a future requirement for advanced permissioning and publishing workflows to enable stakeholders outside of the web team to play a role in the content lifecycle.

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Drupal 8 was selected for this project based on several factors.  First, its focus on structured data fit well with Rainforest Alliance’s need for portable and searchable content.  Second, the deep integrations with Apache Solr allowed for a nuanced content relation engine.  Solr was also used to power the various search interfaces.  Third, Drupal has historically had powerful workflow tools for managing content.  While these tools weren’t quite ready for Drupal 8 when we built it, we knew they would be simple to integrate when they were ready.  In short, Drupal was a perfect fit for the immediate needs, and Drupal 8 met the organization’s longer term goals.
 

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Kelly Albrecht
Senior Digital Producer

We've been getting lots or praise, internally and externally.  Brava, team!

Melissa Normann, Senior Manager Web Strategy and Development

At the close of Sprint 6, there were zero critical and only 3 moderate issues. The final Sprint/Project review had only 3 support questions, launching as arguably the most impressive Drupal 8 site launched within a year of the initial release this latest major version on the Open Source CMS, and most importantly in time for Rainforest Alliance's major end-of-year donation campaign. The site delivers on its promise to showcase the Rainforest Alliance’s exciting and informative messages and beautiful imagery, and stands as testimony for the efficacy of the agile approach.

Read the full case study here.

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Branding and design for site and event collateral.
Baltimore Drupal Camp
Processes
  • Continuous Delivery
Team Leadership
  • Art Director
    Colin Panetta

Last Call Media makes it a priority to give back to the Drupal community, so we were excited when the nice folks at Baltimore Drupal Camp reached out to us for branding and design.

How we did it

 

Getting alignment

For the discovery phase, we had some in-depth conversations with the team at Baltimore Drupal Camp about design trends on the web, and which ones we wanted to explore for this project. We decided that the designs should express both the historic and the punk sensibilities of Fells Point, the neighborhood the event was to take place in, while also paying homage to Frederick Douglass, as the venue was the great Frederick Douglass-Isaac Myers Maritime Park.

Drupal Boh logo

Baltimore Drupal Camp had in previous years done a few mash-ups of the Drupal and National Bohemian logos in previous years (the National Bohemian logo being the unofficial logo of Baltimore), and we were excited to try our hand at it. We produced a clean, durable logo that was used in all our subsequent material and that the Baltimore Drupal Camp also adopted for use across their social media platforms. Baltimore's own Not Mr. Boh even gave it a shout-out on Twitter.

The Drupal and National Bohemian logos combining into the Drupal Boh logo

Illustrations

In order to capture the historic and punk aspects of Fells Point that we discussed during discovery, we produced a series of gritty, vibrantly colored illustrations for use as visual assets on the site.

Illustration of a raven holding a feather in its mouth

Illustration of Fells Point

Illustration of a historic shipSite Design

Taking both the direction we established in discovery and the assets we generated, we produced a design deliverable for the Baltimore Drupal Camp website. Because the site would change so much as the event got closer (and “Submit Your Session” became “Schedule”, among other changes) we needed to deliver a wide-ranging design that would account for multiple versions of the site.

Designs for the Baltimore Drupal Camp site

Portion of Baltimore Drupal Camp site design that includes Frederick Douglass
We included this powerful quote from the great Frederick Douglass in the site design.

We worked with the team at Baltimore Drupal Camp while we created the designs and formatted them for handoff, enjoying a productive information exchange about tools and process while we were at it.

There aren't enough words of thanks for Colin and Last Call Media. Amazing site design, fabulous t-shirts, awesome stickers! You are Drupal!

Liz Lipinski, Baltimore Drupal Camp

Event Material

We were thrilled to see the aesthetic and assets we generated for this project in use on event collateral on the day of the camp itself. Congrats to the Baltimore Drupal Camp on a successful 2016!

Baltimore Drupal Camp stickers with Drupal Boh icon

Baltimore Drupal Camp shirts with historic ship drawing

Room at Baltimore Drupal Camp with sign

Birds of Feather sign at Baltimore Drupal camp with raven illustration

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Colin Panetta
Director of UX/UI
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Building the new WPI.edu.
Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Processes
  • Agile/Scrum
  • XP
Team Leadership
  • Senior Producer
    Sean Eddings
  • Senior Development
    Jeff Landfried

Clinically speaking, our recent work with Worcester Polytechnic Institute is a testimony to Last Call Media’s approach to the initial project phases of Discovery, Strategy, and Information Architecture.  That said, the most important part of this story is how our flexible and adaptable work process embraced by both the WPI and Last Call Media teams resulted in a process and a final outcome the meets WPI’s stakeholder needs. Strong partnership-building was the goal from the outset, and it paid off in strong relationships and expectations satisfied.

Project Goals Last year, WPI embarked on a discovery and strategy phase with Last Call Media in order to

  • Improve performance
  • Increase engagement
  • Reduce technical debt and operating costs

Thanks to WPI’s commitment to collaboration, the redesign of wpi.edu represents one of Last Call Media’s most comprehensive involvements from start to finish of any project to date.  We acted as more than designers and developers, but instead as all-encompassing strategic management consultants, working with WPI to organize multiple stakeholders toward the realization of stated and unstated goals.

How we did it

The project had humble beginnings. WPI had a lot of ideas which they’d translated into a giant content model spreadsheet.  We meticulously ensured that we understood it all, guiding a wireframe process in which we were able to make significant contribution to the decision making that yielded a highly intuitive structure.  We took each step iteratively, building piece-by-piece, soliciting feedback, and then building the next iteration.  We facilitated a dialogue between administrators, college communications, their design department, Acquia and their IT department to map the landscape of business requirements, organizational needs, and their desired design aesthetic.  

On the technical side, we reviewed their existing RedDot site, and built a ‘scraper’ to scrape select content off of their existing site and import the data into its new structure in Drupal. We open sourced the scraper too.  Next we built a flexible layout system of building blocks that enabled them to build pages however they needed. We dubbed them ‘widgets’, WPI called them ‘elements’, but they were central to satisfying their desire for incredibly flexible layouts that allowed them to build unique layouts on any given page.

As part of the creative partnership, Last Call Media’s creative team worked closely with WPI to improve the look and utility of the Events Pages, the Calendar and a database of accolades they maintain.  The outcome was a set of tools that present information in simple and digestible ways.  WPI’s communications team helped LCM fully understand their brand, which enabled us to showcase their identity as we applied it to the work product.

Every step of the way as we constructed functionality, WPI developers, content authors and staff gave feedback on the project as fidelity increased from a rough unthemed Drupal site to a polished release candidate.  At the same time, Last Call Media was enabling WPI Developers to be self-sufficient in Drupal so they could help build new functionality.  Last Call Media also built a custom ‘faculty importer’ that synced data from their Ellucian Banner system into Drupal, greatly simplifying the  constructing and accuracy of faculty pages.

Because we were in constant contact, there were never any ‘big reveals’ for WPI leadership to react to that represented hours of work they had to wrestle with approving or sending us back to the drawing board - they’d been part of the process at two week intervals and on board with each decision as it was made.

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Sean Eddings
Senior Producer & Agile Coach

Today, the ability of the various administrative and academic departments at WPI to use the site is unparalleled in Last Call Media’s experience.  The partnership enabled WPI’s content developers, in-house communications staff, designers and developers to fully leverage the new wpi.edu. As a result, we’re seeing profound stakeholder use of the tools we collectively built. WPI embraces our approach and recognizes the value in the systems our working partnership designed. Such engagement is the dream of every project, and we’re proud it’s being realized at Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

We continue an ongoing relationship with WPI providing support and strategic counsel as necessary. What can Last Call Media do for you?

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Delivering a high stakes MVP.
Designow
Processes
  • Agile/Kanban
  • Agile/Scrum
  • Continuous Delivery
Team Leadership
  • Senior Producer
    Sean Eddings

Following a branding initiative, Designow worked with Last Call Media to build and launch the initial release of a complex crowdfunding platform on Drupal.

When we began, initial prototyping and feature development had already been started. As is often the case, much of the prototyping had made its way into substantial portions of what was now the project's foundational work. It had become difficult to determine exactly what was completely done, what was partially done, and what requirements had been left out along the way.

How we did it

We used our expertise in Agile methodologies to bring order to complexity and the product to launch. We began by building and prioritizing a backlog of tasks, getting high priority tasks into a ready state by defining out appropriate definitions of done. We additionally focused on implementing strategies for limiting the work-in-progress present in the project when we started. We forecasted out a few sprint goals, informed by our backlog development and resulting strategies, and quickly went into heavy development.

Immediate visibility for stakeholders into development progress became of major importance for their own ability to make quick business decisions concerning their investment. In order to maximize the value of the work, we adapted our initial Scrum iteration approach into shorter, one-week sprints of continuous delivery to get small groups of completed tasks out faster. This soon further evolved into more of an ideal Kanban flow, allowing a continuous awareness and continuous delivery of the right value.

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Sean Eddings
Senior Producer & Agile Coach

Since the initial release, LCM and Designow have continuously measured and inspected valuable feedback. Our work continues as the product is currently receiving regular releases of new features and refinements.

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A new design for PVPC.
Pioneer Valley Planning Commission
Processes
  • Continuous Delivery
Team Leadership
  • Senior Producer
    Colin Panetta
  • Art Director
    Colin Panetta

The Pioneer Valley Planning Committee, the regional planning body for the Pioneer Valley region, which encompasses 43 cities and towns in the Hamden and Hampshire county areas of Massachusetts, asked LCM to redesign their aging Drupal site with a new look and feel and to also be compliant with new government regulations surrounding content and site accessibility.

How we did it

 

Working with PVPC 

We took the project from initial discovery and strategy through information architecture, design and development. We were able to deliver a compelling, modern and effective design, with PVPC's target users in mind. Our discovery and strategy informed a new design for improved site navigation and menu structure, re-working the existing navigation system to create a more fluid experience visiting the site.

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Colin Panetta
Director of UX/UI
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Consortium Assault Services app.
Amherst College
Processes
  • Continuous Delivery
Team Leadership
  • Senior Producer
    Kelly Albrecht
  • Senior Development
    Rob Bayliss

In response to growing concerns and attention around Sexual Harassment and Assault Nationwide, Amherst College needed a tool to serve students of the Five Colleges with rapid access to Title IX office information and emergency services.

How we did it

LCM and Amherst College worked together with student advocates, Title IX, LGBT, and other campus offices and organizations to design and develop an iOS App that puts valuable information, from a Drupal site Amherst can administer, into the hands of students. The major feature of the app was to direct assault survivors to emergency contact information, help services, and other advocacy groups anonymously and quickly.

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Rob Bayliss
CTO

The app was announced to all incoming and returning students during new school year orientation. Information about the app has been circulated through the Five Colleges on promotional materials and "get help" fliers, and posters.

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Custom tailoring Haverford.edu.
Haverford College
Processes
  • Agile/Scrum
  • Continuous Delivery
Team Leadership
  • Senior Producer
    Kelly Albrecht
  • Senior Development
    Jeff Landfried

When LCM got the call from Haverford about redoing their site in Drupal, we thought it was going to be a redesign. After initial conversation we agreed to do a Discovery and Strategy engagement first to determine what the true needs were and then develop a strategy for solutions. We conducted stakeholder interviews and developed the User Personas of who our work was to be for. Interestingly, none of these personas ended up being anonymous site visitor, but instead were different types of content editors and administrators.

How we did it

Haverford didn’t need a redesign; their site looked great already. The biggest issue they needed to solve was not having enough time to do new feature development themselves. They were a smart and capable team and over many years had developed and maintained a large custom PHP implementation for college’s website needs. They were finding, however, that too much of their time was being spent updating pages for college members and groups. Their hope was for us to build them a site that looked and functioned like their current site, but built on a modern CMS with exceptional user management and publishing workflows.

Once we had alignment on their needs and a strategy for solutions, we built out a Content Model, Product Backlog, and Information Architecture. The project was completed with Drupal, in steady collaboration with the Communications team, in 5 development Sprints and launched on the Acquia Infrastructure.

The Haverford Team really jumped in and took off with it. It was really great!

You can read more about this project as LCM’s Acquia Certified Grand Master Developer, Jeff Landfried shares details of his experience here.

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Kelly Albrecht
Senior Digital Producer

Since then, Last Call Media has continued to work with Haverford on an ongoing basis as part of our dedicated Continuous Delivery relationship - where our dedicated team of developers helps to keep their site secure, up-to-date, and assists as needed with anything from strategy to design to development.

The migration of Haverford to Drupal on Acquia remains one of our favorite projects to date, and it's a great source of professional pride for all of us.  We look forward to a long partnership with Haverford as we continuously evaluate how their online experience is meeting the needs of the College.  

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Fun and impactful design for inclusive tech event.
NERD Summit
Team Leadership
  • Senior Producer
    Kelly Albrecht

The New England Regional Developers Summit (NERDS) came to Last Call Media for a site design that would support their inclusive, educational agenda for their upcoming 2017 event.

Strategy

Last Call employed a few different site strategies in order to best serve NERDS and their users. First, we boiled their content down to short bursts that either told site users everything they needed to know or linked them to where they need to go to complete an action (like signing up for the email newsletter or submitting a session).

We then decided to present each of these pieces of content in a slide of their own, leveraging this modular strategy to organize content depending on audience. We made sure that each slide was flexible and could be updated as needed as the event draws nearer (as “Submit a Session” turns into “Session Schedule”, for example).

Lil NERDy

To NERDS an immediate, personable (and literal) face, we decided to develop a mascot. The feel of the NERD logo evoked the 70’s to us, and we decided to use Mr. Men, one of that era’s most famous cartoons, as inspiration. The result was Lil’ NERDy. Lil’ NERDy is memorable and adaptable, meaning she can be used in a variety of ways at any size to instantly remind people of the friendly and inclusive nature of NERDS.

Round, green cartoon character with glasses.

 

Site Design

Using Lil’ NERDy as an asset, the site strategy was then implemented to produce a bold, fresh site design. The design uses strong typography and bright colors to create an impactful and informative experience.

NERDS Homepage design.

 

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Colin Panetta
Director of UX/UI

NERDS walked away with a fun, efficient site that keeps users informed and delighted as their event draws closer.

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Healthy U Portal app.
Cooley Dickinson Hospital
Processes
  • Continuous Delivery
Team Leadership
  • Senior Producer
    Kelly Albrecht
  • Senior Development
    Rob Bayliss
  • Art Director
    Colin Panetta

Cooley-Dickinson Hospital offers an incentive based healthy lifestyle program to their employees. As employees participate in exercise activities, healthier eating habits, and life-enhancing techniques education classes they gain points—which translate to greater discounts to their benefits contributions. CDH was tracking this participation program on paper and in Excel for over 1000 employees. Last Call was hired to transform the program into an interactive digital experience to increase participation and automate much of the workflow of managing the program.

How we did it

We provided an easy-to-use interface to minimize the barrier of entry for users. Maximized by a Mobile First approach, we condensed how much information was presented to allow users to quickly access the main features of the program which is entering exercise activity. While also accessible through desktop and laptop computers, the primary use case for the app was on the go, from a mobile device, for a user to track their progress. LCM went further, implementing QR Code functionality, allowing CDH to post flyers notifying staff of special activities. Scanning the QR Codes on those notices would transition the user's experience to the relevant area of the app.

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Kelly Albrecht
Senior Digital Producer

Things went really well with the program, it met all of our needs really well and the employees loved it.

Sam Blasiak, Cooley Dickinson Hospital

The program has been met with amazing reception both from administration, and employee participation. The program is being further expanded and developed to be modular and rapidly deployed at partner healthcare facility partners.

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Redesigning the College of Biological Sciences.
College of Biological Sciences
Processes
  • Agile/Scrum
Team Leadership
  • Senior Producer
    Kelly Albrecht
  • Art Director
    Colin Panetta

Developing a digital media strategy with measurable results. Challenged to increase enrollment, the College of Biological Sciences at the University of Minnesota looked to Last Call Media for ways to develop a digital media strategy with measurable results. Last Call Media focused on increasing engagement with CBS’ primary audiences: prospective and current students by implementing fresh designs with improved pathways and navigation. LCM also coordinated the final migration and deployment of the site to the University’s Acquia platform.

How we did it

Working with CBS, we took the project from initial discovery and goal validation through information architecture, design and development.

We were able to deliver a compelling, modern and effective site. With CBS’s target users in mind, Last Call Media improved site navigation and menu structure, re-working the existing navigation system to create a more fluid experience visiting the site.

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Kelly Albrecht
Senior Digital Producer

The site was launched in summer, in time to function as an active recruitment tool for the school year. After receiving consistent positive feedback, CBS and LCM received an award for the design and functionality. The CBS team has continued to add and manage new content on top of the sound foundation built by Last Call Media.

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