The Middle East Policy Council (MEPC) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 1981 whose mission is to contribute to American understanding of the political, economic and cultural issues that affect U.S. interests in the Middle East. This is accomplished through three programs: the quarterly journal Middle East Policy (the most influential policy publication on the region); the Capitol Hill Conference Series for policymakers and their staffs offering multiple points of view on complex issues; and our acclaimed national outreach for students, educators and other civic leaders.
Freelock began working on this project in early December 2016 and launched in late April 2017. We first started by scoping out and planning around the client’s main goals with user stories. MEPC needed to upgrade from the no longer supported Drupal 6 version to the newest Drupal 8 version. They also wanted to rethink the architecture of how now only front-end users access their journal essays, but also the editorial process on the back-end.
Freelock’s first sprint started with the content migration from Drupal 6 to Drupal 8, while doing irritative content migrations as the Drupal 8 site was being developed, to keep content fresh for continuous design and development work. We identified the views that needed to be rebuilt to support their content and the highly custom displays, including subscription only teasers and set up of a back-end date system where full journals would be made available, though an internal workflow process.
In addition, they wanted a fresh “look & feel” that was more in line with design trends, get their site mobile-friendly, more prominent media placement throughout the site, and better social media integration. We were able to get them a lot of what they wanted quickly with our Business Site Package. After we focused on the architecture of the site and those primary user stories using an agile approach, we worked with their stakeholders to refine the modern design of their site. Having the basic underlying structure in place, we were able to begin theming in Bootstrap, in a mobile-first approach. We had three design review processes, always considering how users would be funneled through the site to find the information they were seeking. Also important in the design changes, were the capabilities of the functional development of the site, taking into consideration the available budget, development best practices, and practicality of user experience.
This project is a great representation of our experience in Drupal 8 development, design integration and theming, mobile-friendly development, and content migration. We identified parts of their old site that made sense to migrate over to Drupal 8 and those parts that were best handled being rebuilt to support the new Drupal 8 framework and best practices. They are currently on our site maintenance 'Drupal Protection Plan', along with a monthly retainer, which for the first year is included in our Business Site Package. Please feel free to drop us a line!