Pedrera has worked with the National Constitution Center (NCC) since 2007, acting as their primary agency for web development. Pedrera has provided the NCC with a range of services throughout the years, such as strategic consulting on harmonizing their various web properties, migration from costly, proprietary CMS platforms, and web server administration and maintenance.
In 2012, the NCC looked to Pedrera to support a complete overhaul of their core website: http://constitutioncenter.org. The website was redesigned by Bluecadet (http://bluecadet.com), and Pedrera was engaged to provide consulting services, program the site's content management system in ExpressionEngine, to build out the website's extensive information architecture and migrate content, and to handle all web server administration duties.
Highlighting “The Constitution” in ConstitutionCenter.org
Early in the project, Pedrera suggested that the Constitution be built into the website’s data model via a custom ExpressionEngine plug-in. The Constitution, once stored in a data model that is native to the website CMS, would then become the central element by which all website content may be related. This would then allow for meaningful cross-navigation with the Constitution acting as what it truly is: the unifying element of all that the NCC publishes online. Moreover, the integration of social media channels with the Constitution allows users to “like” and “share” favorite elements of the Constitution. View this at http://constitutioncenter.org/constitution.
Building a Web Platform for the Present… and the Future
Like many organizations, the NCC worked with numerous web agencies over the years. Coupled with internal staff turnover, this created a few issues. Sub-sites created by external agencies in isolation lacked navigation back to the main website, creating a “dead-end” for visitors. These sites were not built on a single CMS platform (many had no CMS at all), and they were wildly inconsistent in information architecture, branding, strategy, reporting, etc. Over time, this made for an unmanageable and unsustainable web infrastructure.
Looking to the new website as an opportunity to remedy this, Pedrera and the NCC worked together to design and build a robust, harmonized web platform. This included the following tasks:
- Moving the NCC web platform from two, costly Windows servers to a single, inexpensive Linux server
- Establishing ExpressionEngine as the standard CMS platform for all web properties
- Programming the new website CMS in ExpressionEngine, and moving legacy websites onto the central CMS
- Instituting a central maintenance and back-up plan that covers all websites and microsites hosted and managed on the new platform
- Supporting central oversight and coordination of web activities, including standardization of documentation and development practices
The results for the NCC have been significant. Hosting and other costs are down, and all their websites and microsites may now be hosted, managed and edited on the central CMS platform. Moreover, with infrastructure difficulties resolved, the NCC is now better able to focus on delivering a first-class user experience with compelling content and a beautiful user interface design.