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We built a digital newsroom for a 100,000 student university serving content across the school's central news site, 160 department web sites, mobile applications and beyond.
Arizona State University, with six campuses throughout the Phoenix area, is one of the largest universities in the country with a total enrollment exceeding 100,000 students and over 800 degree programs. ASU Now and ASU Events comprise the nerve center for current events throughout the university. These sites are curated by a dedicated team of editors working with articles submitted to the site from any of approximately 200 contributors across the university. With the coming retirement of Drupal 5, this was their opportunity to update the design and create a mobile friendly experience while upgrading to Drupal 7.
The previous version of ASU Now was on Drupal 5 which was being retired, so there was most definitely a need for an upgrade. Furthermore, as ASU was growing substantially in geographic reach, degree offerings and academic rigor since University President Michael Crow took the reigns, there was a focus on improving the presentation of and targeting of key stories to emphasize the university’s focus on innovation, entrepreneurship, creativity, global engagement and local impact. Design and user experience needed an upgrade and the newsroom needed updated tools to curate and optimize articles to tell ASU’s story of growth and innovation.
We tackled the migration using the migrate modules, custom scripts, a set of test data and a lot of caffeine. Once this tedious task was completed, we set ourselves to the fun part: implementing a headless web application … before the term was coined. This resulted in a smooth user experience which minimized page loads and allowed users to find and learn about the goings-on as ASU more quickly and enjoyably. We then configured a 7 step custom content moderation workflow enabling new users to author, submit and collaborate on articles with no more than 1 hour of training. Finally, in order to share the wealth of articles and stories to the rest of the university, we leveraged Drupal’s secret sauce, views, to create a web service api which could be consumed by mobile applications, kiosks and other web sites alike.
Four years later, the ASU Now site is still going strong. We know, because our founder’s wife is one of the 160 trained content editors contributing to this site. Following this project we continued to work with ASU to build sites for their University Technology Office (uto) and contributed modules to the web platform used throughout the university.
Fixed Bid Projects: Mythic Fantasy or Achievable Reality?
The phrase ‘fixed bid’ has a way of unsettling developers and marketers. To some, it conjures visions of endless change requests, disappointed client expectations, and limited margins. Like the proverbial dragon, many agencies would prefer to think that fixed bid projects don’t exist or if they do, are best left alone to avoid danger. Confronting such a beast might seem ‘unrealistic’ or ‘impossible’ and such agencies make efforts to dissuade or disqualify a prospective client’s request for fear of failure. Enter the ‘heroic’ agencies which see not only the challenge, but also the opportunity to provide predictable pricing, achievable expectations, and overall value. These latter agencies overcome such fear of failure to the benefit of themselves and their customers.
B2B vs B2C Website Design
Every business’s website begins with the same simple, fundamental question: who is the customer? In this article, we explore the differences between websites which sell to businesses (business-to-business or B2B) and those which sell to consumers (business-to-consumer or B2C). When most people think of e-commerce, they think of flashy consumer websites like Tesla, Nike or Apple or marketplaces like Amazon or Walmart. In fact, according to Statista, B2B ecommerce volume eclipsed $6.7 trillion in 2019, and is expected to grow at a rate of 20% per year through 2030. Therefore, the distinction between B2B and B2C website designs is very important.
So You Failed Core Web Vitals…
Maybe you’ve just learned about Core Web Vitals and this is your first time running the test on your site, or maybe you are familiar with CWV but this is the first time testing a new site. No matter the context, having your site fail with low scores in big red numbers can be disheartening. It may encourage you to know that you aren’t alone. According to an initial study, 96.6% of sites tested failed their CWV test. Optimizing for this new standard is a battle everyone is facing. The good news is that failing scores are a terrific tool for improving your website. Let’s discuss why.