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ASU Now & ASU Events
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.

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Project Highlights

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.

Key integrations
  • Custom content web services api enabling mobile applications and websites throughout the university. 
  • Migration of 12,000 legacy articles spanning 15 years from Drupal 5 to Drupal 7.
Features
  • Mobile Responsiveness
  • Progressive headless / decoupled web application.  
  • Multi-step content moderation and publishing workflows.  
  • University-wide content hub accepting and sharing articles across the universities' department web sites and mobile applications.
  • University-wide events hub scheduling and publicizing events for all aspects of the university. 
Technologies and Tools
  • Drupal 7
  • Pantheon Web Platform
ASU Events Screenshot

The Challenge

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.

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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.

The Solution

ASU Now Home Screenshot

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.

ASU Now Home Screenshot

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.

The Results

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.