We spend much of our time working out ways to make different technology systems work seamlessly together - rendering the technology invisible to an effortless visit.
Our experience is centered around the CMS integrating with Association Management Systems (AMS) or Customer Relationship Management systems (CRM). For the most part the integration involves allowing users to login to the website and then be rewarded with private content or being offered functionality, such as profile update, event registration, etc. Once the user is logged in they do not have to log in again, regardless of which system they are on - this is Single Sign On (SSO), and is a major pain point for users as they traverse multiple systems that make up most websites - the integration we perform takes this pain away.
Below are some examples of integrations we have completed, if you would like us to take your pain away-get in touch.
Because the Association for the Accreditation of human Research Protection Programs (AAHRPP) website (www.aahrpp.org) has long been a critical component in communicating information to their clients, AAHRPP decided that it
was important for them to enhance the site’s appeal, user-friendliness, and product merchandising in order to increase overall applications and brand awareness. For this reason, they undertook a redesign project aimed at producing a simplified layout and enhanced navigation of the site for both the public and AAHRPP clients. Likewise, the redesign was needed to provide easy access to AAHRPP application materials, learning experiences, networking opportunities, and industry information.
An important component of the project was a design refresh that would establish a more clearly defined visual identity reflecting their organization and research community. A successful project would require that the look and feel of the site be updated and that navigation and information architecture be improved to enhance user experience. Finally, AAHRPP needed a content management system to provide functionality like advanced search, polling, custom form building, and integration with Microsoft SharePoint and Microsoft Dynamics CRM.
AAHRPP contracted Hodgson to redesign their website and implement the Sitefinity CMS, which would provide them with the content management functionality and third party system integrations they required. Hodgson was selected for this project because of our significant experience in working with systems like Sitefinity and because, in addition to development, we are able to provide usability, content structure, information architecture, and design services.
We recommended Sitefinity not only because of its affordability and powerful .NET platform, but also because it offered important features that AAHRPP needed, including an integrated e-commerce module and email marketing capabilities.
The Association for the Accreditation of Human Research Protection Programs, Inc. (AAHRPP) promotes high-quality research through an accreditation process that helps organizations worldwide strengthen their human research protection programs (HRPPs).
An independent, nonprofit accrediting body, AAHRPP uses a voluntary, peer-driven, educational model to ensure that HRPPs meet rigorous standards for quality and protection. To earn accreditation, organizations must provide tangible evidence—through policies, procedures, and practices—of their commitment to scientifically and ethically sound research and to continuous improvement.
As the "gold seal," AAHRPP accreditation offers assurances—to research participants, researchers, sponsors, government regulators, and the general public—that an HRPP is focused first and foremost on excellence.
In 2014, The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) initiated a multi-phase project to revitalize their entire web presence, which was built
on the Ektron platform. ASCE needed a website that would provide an optimal visitor experience; be flexible and extensible; be fully responsive to smartphones and tablets; and support the organization in achieving their important goals—technological advancement, lifelong learning, professional development, civil engineering leadership, and infrastructure and environmental stewardship.
After the design phase of their project had begun,
ASCE sought a web development partner with extensive Ektron experience and a track record of success in integrating content management systems with member database software (e.g., Personify, which is the system utilized by ASCE) to perform the technical heavy lifting in the project. At that point, ASCE had already been working with a design and strategy partner to conceive a new user interface, navigation, and content for all ASCE web properties.
ASCE selected Hodgson to build out their web properties in Ektron 9 and to integrate Ektron with all their third party systems. The project kicked off with a review of existing documentation and requirements created by ASCE’s design partner, including responsive HTML and CSS templates. Hodgson’s Ektron development team built out Ektron templates, including Smart Form and PageBuilder templates, and they set up taxonomies within Ektron to relate content within Ektron to a number of external databases. The project also included implementation of an advanced, faceted search using Ektron’s Solr-based search technology.
As is often the case in large, complex projects of this type, the functional requirements evolved even after development had already begun. Early in the project, Hodgson developers had the forethought to create an effective framework for serializing and deserializing smart form data, which allowed them to build all importing, sorting, and filtering of Personify and Ektron data well in advance. This effort proved invaluable late in the project, when requirements were finalized with the go-live date imminent.
Throughout the project, the Hodgson team worked with ASCE programmers to integrate Ektron templates with various existing technologies, including e-commerce applications, the Personify association management system, and other ASCE web properties. The result was a successful collaborative effort that produced a modern, user friendly website that leverages the power and flexibility of the Ektron platform.
The main ASCE website (www.asce.org), ASCE Foundation website (www.ascefoundation.org), and other sites are currently live. Hodgson’s Webmaster Services has been engaged to provide ongoing maintenance and support.
The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) represents more than 145,000 members of the civil engineering profession in 174 countries. Founded in 1852, ASCE is the nation’s oldest engineering society. ASCE stands at the forefront of a profession that plans, designs, constructs, and operates society’s economic and social engine—the built environment—while protecting and restoring the natural environment.
CSA required a complete redesign of their website. The goals for the new website were to enhance the overall member experience and value proposition and provide leading-edge tools that would better serve the needs of the CSA leadership and members. Hodgson began the project by recommending a new content management system (CMS) to take advantage of improved technology capabilities. As the previous site had been built on a combination of Drupal and legacy PHP code, CSA wanted a CMS that offered a lot of functionality out of the box and could streamline all content. CSA also sought a vendor who could improve the design and navigation of the website, optimize search engine results, provide better search functionality, and enhance the member and constituent experience.
Hodgson began the project by conducting interviews with CSA stakeholders and evaluating content management systems that could, potentially, provide the functionality CSA required. We determined the functional requirements of the redesigned website and matched those requirements to Drupal, Ektron and Sitefinity in an effort to determine which CMS was the most suitable. Hodgson recommended Sitefinity, which offered a high degree of scalability. It is also built on the .NET platform, which was suitable to CSA’s intended integration with MemberSuite, the association management system. In addition, it was more cost-effective than other options; it included forum and e-commerce capabilities out of the box, and it offered a “Content Personalization” add-on that would meet many of CSA’s content targeting goals. This personalization, as well as streamlining the sign-up and renewal funnel and centralizing the member portal, were some of the tools we leveraged to better serve the needs of the association’s leadership and members.
The Definitions phase began with developing a taxonomy, which included tagging content to improve search speed and to identify related content items. We created an intuitive, logical information architecture to guide our design team. Hodgson developed wireframes and created several designs for CSA to review. Once a design was selected, we developed annotated wireframes to detail the functional requirements for each element on each template, and then created HTML files before developing Sitefinity templates and completing the implementation. Hodgson integrated with MemberSuite to provide single sign-on (SSO) functionality, allowing members to sign in and be authenticated to access not only member-based content, but individual member profile information. We ensured the website was responsive and tested it thoroughly before training CSA staff on Sitefinity and launching the site.
The California Society of Anesthesiologists (CSA) is comprised of nearly 4,000 anesthesiologists who practice in the state of California. CSA’s mission is to promote the highest standards for the anesthesiology profession, to foster excellence through continuing medical education, and to serve as an advocate for anesthesiologists and their patients.
It is important to note that the index NACUA wanted was not what the GSA would produce by default (i.e., just by pointing the GSA at the resources). We developed a custom feed for the GSA which provided all the metadata required to produce eight (8) individual indexes, which could be searched and displayed separately.
To accomplish the goals above, we wrote an application that crawled the document repository and built up a finely tuned sitemap.xml file. The sitemap used a configuration file so NACUA could easily specify the behavior for each index; for example, the configuration file would specify if sub-directories were to be included in the index and whether or not a file should be included based on its modification date.
We then wrote a .NET console application which would read in the sitemap.xml file before creating and sending the feed to the GSA. As part of the process, we had to programmatically open each file and extract specific information, such as “Author” and “Title.” This was accomplished for all types of MS Office documents as well as PDFs. These metadata were part of the feed and became part of the index.
In addition to the tasks above, we also created another index that searched the entire web, except for NACUA’s own site, for any given search term. We used Google’s Custom Search Engine (GSE) to accomplish this. For each search term, the query was sent to the GSE, but the results were normalized to match those coming from the GSA. All results were presented in an identical manner.
One of the most significant challenges inherent in this project was the fact that nacua.org is a Classic ASP site featuring authentication against the ClearVantage AMS from Euclid Technology, which is not a particularly well documented product. Given that the search site we developed was an ASP.NET website hosted on a Classic ASP site, we had to implement authentication for the search site separately—the credentials could not be shared across the Classic ASP–ASP.NET boundary.
While we were implementing the new search, Euclid upgraded NACUA to the latest version of their product; however, Euclid’s professional services group could not get the authentication working with the Classic ASP site and needed Hodgson to troubleshoot the issue. We re-implemented the authentication with the new product version, and ensured that the Classic ASP authentication was working as well.
The National Association of Professional Employer Organizations (NAPEO) contracted Hodgson to undertake a comprehensive update of their web presence, which included a complete visual and user experience redesign along with the implementation of a new Content Management System (CMS). In addition, NAPEO was looking to integrate their existing Association Management System (AMS), MemberSuite, for a more streamlined member experience. NAPEO also needed to develop a solution to manage both traditional and online publications for members and non-members alike.
With a large portion of the NAPEO user base utilizing a variety of devices to access the website tools and publications, NAPEO required a strategy to ensure all devices provided an outstanding user experience regardless of screen size. Finally, all of these goals needed to serve two separate and distinct audiences: the public and NAPEO members.
One of the first critical choices was selecting a CMS that would best fit NAPEO’s needs. After considering a number of potential options, Hodgson recommended, and implemented, Sitefinity. This CMS provided NAPEO with standardized page templates, robust site search, workflow, SEO tools and enhancements and the ability to integrate with the MemberSuite API.
Through significant discussion and research, Hodgson determined that by developing a custom publications module, NAPEO could manage all activities related to their publications through Sitefinity. This included allowing members additional access to archived publications and articles, based on membership levels, incorporating a federated search, and allowing NAPEO content provides an intuitive way to add and edit article and publication content.
Hodgson integrated with the AMS to provide single sign-on (SSO) functionality, allowing members to sign in and authenticated against MemberSuite to access not only member based content, but individual member profile information.
The National Association of Professional Employer Organizations (NAPEO) is The Voice of the Professional Employer Organization (PEO) Industry™. A PEO provides comprehensive human resources (HR) solutions for small and mid-size businesses that include payroll, benefits, HR, tax administration, and regulatory compliance assistance.
Presbyterian College (www.presby.edu) sought a vendor to assist them with the design and construction of a website that communicates a unified marketing image. The objective was to develop a visually attractive, highly effective and functional user-friendly site with the ability for Presbyterian College staff to manage and maintain the website.
PC’s chosen web partner would need to present the new designs in a way that the branding, creative ideas, and final creative work are identifiably distinctive, accurately portraying the mission and position of PC, and uniquely conveying a consistent meaning and value to prospective students and their family members. The primary message to communicate through the website was that PC offers challenging academics with a personal touch. The look of the new site was to be academic with a casual, down-to-earth feel.
In order to provide Presbyterian College with a site that met their marketing, usability, and content management goals, Hodgson recommended the highly user friendly WordPress CMS as the ideal platform for PC’s website. We began the project with several days of comprehensive web strategy and functional requirements meetings with PC staff from numerous departments and constituencies within the College.
During the project, Hodgson implemented a campus directory search and worked with the Google Calendar API to customize the PC events calendar. When the site had been tested and approved for launch, Hodgson’s technical writing staff produced a WordPress training manual to guide PC content editors and administrators as they maintained the site.
Presbyterian College (PC) is located on a beautiful 240-acre campus between Columbia and Greenville in South Carolina. With small classes and faculty who want the best for their students, their supportive community provides more than an exceptional liberal arts education. PC empowers students to be servant leaders in their communities through challenging academics and a culture of honor and ethics.
Since 1880, PC has been personally committed to success. As a result, 90 percent of their students are in graduate programs or have secured jobs within six months of graduation.