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Annual Fund’s 25th Anniversary Campaign.
Amherst College Advancement Department
Processes
  • Continuous Delivery
Team Leadership

The Advancement Department of Amherst College needed an updated brochure to support their efforts to encourage donations to the Annual Fund’s 25th Anniversary Program campaign. Last Call Media was excited to build upon our technical experience migrating Amherst to Drupal and in building the Title IX iOS App with a project that could showcase our marketing strategy and design talents.

How we did it

The twenty-fifth anniversary year is an important one for advancement activities. Alumni have generally attained career and financial stability by this time, and it is an important moment in which to encourage a lifetime habit of giving to Amherst College. Amherst needed an accessible and compelling visual that would explain a complicated funding program. Working within existing guidelines and style templates, we worked with the Annual Fund to build a tri-fold brochure that plainly communicated the benefits and procedures of giving during the five years leading up to and including an alumnus’ twenty-fifth anniversary reunion year.

brochure 2

brochure

Staff reported that the leave-behind brochure was incredibly helpful for both their volunteers and donors, and twenty-fifth anniversary giving broke fundraising targets and records in 2015 and 2016.

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A modern site home to the treasures of the world.
Material & Visual Cultures of Religion
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 will 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 functionality of their user experience, robust asset management and spotlight their obvious visual culture.

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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The new RMA.edu
Randolph-Macon Academy
Processes
  • Agile/Scrum
Team Leadership
  • Senior Producer
    Sean Eddings

Randolph-Macon Academy desired a responsive digital experience that incorporated a consistent, compelling design focused on furthering the school’s mission, and is easily modified by appropriate staff with proper permissions.

How we did it

We were able to deliver modern visual stylings and multimedia capabilities, that loaded quickly and performed optimally, while incorporating best practices for analytics, social media integration, and search engine optimization.

In addition to informing prospective students and their families about the school, the site met the needs of other important stakeholders such as current parents, current students, alumni, faculty and staff - each of whom had their own needs from the site. The site additionally housed faculty and staff human resource forms and information, serving as an intranet behind the scenes.

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Leveraging our Scaffolding and Drupal 8.
Chicken Soup for the Soul
Processes
  • Agile/Scrum
  • Continuous Delivery
Team Leadership
  • Senior Producer
    Sean Eddings
  • Senior Development
    Jeff Landfried

Since early 2014, LCM has continued a productive, ongoing partnership with Chicken Soup for the Soul and supports their web properties and the associated infrastructure. Recently, Chicken Soup asked LCM to launch two new and completely different Drupal 8 sites within a month. LCM worked off of prototypes from Chicken Soup for the Soul and was trusted to move quickly. By deploying two separate teams of 2 developers, LCM was able to take each site from prototype to launch on D8 and Pantheon within two weeks, while another team maintained the ongoing feature release schedule on Chicken Soup for the Soul's massive Drupal 6 site.

In June of 2016, Chicken Soup needed a simple site for their rapidly-growing television and online programming production and distribution business. The site needed to handle a collection of content pages and videos, and was intended to be another microsite that would follow some standard templating and functionality as laid out for previous Chicken Soup sites LCM had worked on, and new sites that were still to come.

Chicken Soup was looking for an alternative approach.

Building new features to support growing business lines inside their massive aging Drupal 6 site was becoming unsustainable. Over time, the site had accumulated so much functionality that each deployment ran a high risk of breaking something, which led to lengthy deployments. Recognizing that issue, a plan was developed in partnership with Chicken Soup for the Soul to spin out a series of smaller, more focused sites sharing a similar architecture. Drupal’s modular architecture, and particularly Drupal 8’s approach to dependency management, made it a great fit for this task. Additionally, while the core CMS functionality of Drupal 6 worked well, the UI was becoming dated and cumbersome to work with. Drupal 8 featured a lot of usability enhancements such as the built in WYSIWYG that would make the site much more usable overall. Finally, the feature set of the site was tightly focused, and after consideration, we were able to implement it with a small handful of contributed modules, and very little technical debt. 

Following on the success of the Chicken Soup for the Soul Pet Foods site, Last Call Media used a similar formula: leverage Drupal 8 core wherever possible, and avoid contributed modules. This was a great strategy in terms of avoiding the turmoil of early Drupal 8 contrib churn, and had the side benefit of keeping the site very lean and performant. After experiencing some past pain points in using the bare “Configuration Management” system in Drupal 8, we chose to use the Features module on this project. Features makes it easy to bundle configuration into modules, and makes it easier to share configuration (in the form of Drupal modules) between the brand’s sites should the need arise in the future. 

The site uses Last Call Media’s boilerplate Drupal 8 scaffolding build, which helped jumpstart the development process by providing a suite of best practices and quality assurance tools with no extra effort.

The goal of this project was to build a flexible marketing site capable of showcasing Chicken Soup for the Soul’s entertainment offerings; primarily their TV shows and online videos. The biggest obstacles the project faced were the looming deadline, the relative instability of Drupal 8 immediately following the initial release, and the lack of contributed modules that were available to us. For example, the Media-related modules we would normally use for the online video section were not stable yet. Instead of using a media/file entity as we normally would to store an online video, we leveraged Drupal core’s new URL field to store the URL of the Rumble video, and used a field template to output an embed link. It was a simple and elegant solution to a difficult problem. 

Thanks to excellent communication with Chicken Soup for the Soul’s Digital Strategy team, and Last Call’s experience in working with Drupal 8, we were able to turn the project around in just two weeks. This met the deadline set by the marketing team, and achieved all of the goals that were set out. 

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Redesign and upgrade for Dr.G.
Competitive Advantage
Processes
  • Continuous Delivery
Team Leadership
  • Senior Producer
    Kelly Albrecht

An upgrade to increased conversions, better sales, and more flexibility

 

Competitive Advantage was experiencing a decline in their online sales. Their existing website was outdated and originally built as hundreds of static HTML pages, some inconsistent with the others. Additionally, the main site was originally laid over top of an aging proprietary ecommerce solution that wasn’t serving their needs or customers well.

How we did it

We worked with Competitive Advantage to update the design of their website, port it to the most current version of Drupal, and migrate away from their former ecommerce system to Commerce. Improvements to the checkout workflow were implemented, product images were updated, and full content control was given to Competitive Advantage to maintain product copy.

Profile picture for user Colin
Colin Panetta
Director of UX/UI

Since the transition, Competitive Advantage has seen their ecommerce sales far exceed their expectations and more than double in volume from their previous site.

We truly appreciate everything you have done for us.

Dr. Alan Goldberg, Sports Performance Consultant
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Catalog integration for Queens Library.
Queens Library
Processes
  • Continuous Delivery
Team Leadership
  • Senior Producer
    Kelly Albrecht
  • Senior Development
    Kelly Albrecht

Team augmentation for increased capabilities. Queens Library needed to integrate its developing content management system into its Book and Media Catalog systems to display realtime information and allow interaction between site visitors and its collection.

We were approached for assistance in developing the custom module foundations for these integrations.

How we did it

We joined the Queens Library IT team and provided coaching as well as custom code.

Our engagement included working with in-house developers and other development teams to build custom modules, displays, and workflows to complete the integrations. Handoff of our work included training and enablement of internal Queens Library developers.

Queens Library launched its new and fully integrated website on Drupal as an interface to display realtime catalog information and facilitate customer interaction.

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A national treasure migrated to AWS with no downtime
StoryCorps
Processes
  • Agile/Kanban
  • Continuous Delivery
Team Leadership
  • Senior Producer
    Sean Eddings

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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