Back in September we decided we needed a new website. Why?
- We were not aligned with our new Web Content Services strategy.
- We were not aligned with the latest additions to our product portfolio, Alfresco Mobile and Alfresco in the cloud.
- We were not able to provide an optimized experience for tablets and smartphones.
- We had no automation for translating content for our local language sites (French, German, Spanish, Italian and Japanese).
So, we looked for a design agency to help with the project. Besides finding a skilled agency, our two additional requirements were to find an agency within driving distance of Maidenhead, UK (Alfresco’s global headquarters), or within driving distance of New York (where I am based). And we wanted to find an agency that an Alfresco employee had recommended.
We came up with 5 agencies and looked at things such as location, size, year founded, number of employees, and case studies. Of the 5 agencies, we asked 4 for proposals, narrowed it down to 2, and finally selected Mark Boulton Design (MBD). MBD was chosen for the following reasons:
- Size of agency
- Clean, simple design principles
- Experience with responsive web design
- Experience with Drupal and familiarity with Alfresco
- Good understanding and passion for open source
So we kicked off the project in December and quickly surveyed visitors to our website. We followed that up with internal stakeholder interviews. Then came personas, IA, wireframes, designs and a working prototype.
- Alfresco Enterprise 4 on the back-end
- Acquia Drupal 7 on the front-end
- CMIS module as the connector between Alfresco and Drupal
- CMIS Views module for enhanced page rendering
- Responsive web framework (A website that responds to the device viewing it, rather than having separate delivery channels for desktop, mobile and tablet. This is accomplished by using a flexible grid-based layout, flexible images and media, and media queries)
The beauty of this solution is that Alfresco can be used for what it’s great at (document management) and Drupal can be used for what it’s good at (web CMS). Here’s how:
Documents stored in Alfresco
Those documents rendered on the website via CMIS Views module
The CMIS View that makes this happen
So that’s the new alfresco.com — at least the English version. Now we’re off to build, translate and launch the local language sites in French, German, Spanish, Italian and Japanese. Go check it out, leave your comments below, and stay tuned for Part II …
UPDATE – 30 Oct 2012: Read Part II, Alfresco and Drupal and Lingotek, oh my!