responsive university site

Rider University approached Plethora Design with a need to migrate their Drupal 6 site of some 10,000+ pages to Drupal 7. They had laid some of the groundwork already, having done some wireframes and mockups internally. They had a clear vision of a site that would be far more visual and intuitive. This helped keep the design process focused and effective.

Before we got involved, Rider University had already implemented some desired layout changes and responsive design in certain areas of the site, which used their own Drupal themes. We referred to those when designing other areas of the new site. 

Due to the large number of pages, we needed to automate the migration of most pages. We did this using the Migrate module, which enabled us to map Drupal fields and content types, sometimes even converting pages into terms (tags). The old site relied heavily on custom blocks, which slowed the site down and also resulted in a lot of duplicate content.

We designed the new site to rely heavily on Views and view blocks, so that event or headline displays are data driven rather than custom-edited. Much of that relies on tagging, such that the view block will look at the page's tags and then automatically display relevant content in the block. On major landing pages such as the home page, Events, and News, we display a series of thumbnails with captions, using Views along with a 'load more' pager. The order of the thumbnails can be controlled by administrators via drag-and-drop using Nodequeue.

The site is hosted in the Acquia Cloud, and we managed the transition to Drupal 7 by building the new site on the Development server while keeping the old site running on Production. Every so often we would re-import content from Prod using our custom Migrate module, so that we could keep developing using fresh content while Rider could keep their public site running. At go-live, we copied Production to a secondary Development server for posterity and review, and copied the Drupal 7 site to Production. 

We also built two sub-sites (really just different themes), which are also fully responsive;

Development took just about five months start to finish with Plethora's team of two developers and one content editor. 

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Project Location
Princeton, NJ