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Annual Fund’s 25th Anniversary Campaign.

Processes
  • Continuous Delivery
Team Leadership

The Advancement Department of Amherst College needed an updated brochure to support their efforts of encouraging 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.

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 with an image of a mural of workers on the side of a church.

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.

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 that could easily be modified by appropriate staff with the 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.

Three layered screens show the landing page and secondary pages of the Randolph-Macon Academy website.

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 also 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.

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

Processes
  • Continuous Delivery
Team Leadership
  • Senior Producer
    Kelly Albrecht
  • Senior Architect
    Rob Bayliss

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 their customers well.

How we did it

Profile picture for user Colin

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.

Three iphones show the Competitive Advantage homepage on mobile.

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.

Processes
  • Continuous Delivery
Team Leadership
  • Senior Producer
    Kelly Albrecht
  • Senior Architect
    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

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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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.