As the image says - Hodgson is an Authorized Digital Agency and Progress Premier Partner certified to implement the Progress Sitefinity CMS.
We have to be honest here, we like Sitefinity. The CMS allows us to design and develop websites that focus on the user journey and make the underlying technology invisible. Build on the .NET platform we find that integration with 3rd party systems (like netFORUM, MemberSuite, Dynamics, Aptify, etc.) is a fairly straight forward process.
Content editors and marketer's find the intuitive content editing tools exceed expectations and Sitefinity allow you to control all aspects of that user journey, letting users navigate freely while offering inviting content and relevant calls to action. Below are some of the Sitefinity implementation projects we've worked on, scroll through, take a look, enjoy.
Here are 5 tips for current Sitefinity users - just a few few things we think are important to know.
The Association for Cooperative Operations Research and Development (ACORD) is a global, nonprofit organization serving insurance and related industries. The association facilitates fast, accurate data exchange and more efficient workflows through the development of electronic standards, standardized forms, and tools to support their use.
ACORD was searching for a vendor to redesign their main website and implement the Enterprise Edition of the Sitefinity content management system (CMS). The association required integration and single sign-on with netFORUM Abila, their association management software (AMS), and required the implementation of ecommerce on the site. They also wanted to build a microsite—www.acordsolutions.com—and create an independent website with a unique design.
ACORD visited the Sitefinity Partner page and reached out to companies experienced in implementing this CMS. Ultimately, they selected Hodgson to redesign both sites and implement Sitefinity. Hodgson began with ACORD Solutions Group, designing a clean, colorful site that showcases the full-scale automation services and solutions offered by the group. The primary website, www.acord.org, required more advanced development skills to create and deploy a highly sophisticated, security-based permission system for members. Hodgson also had to develop a system for launching End User License Agreements (EULAs) based on the permission and status of each member, and the nature of the page they were viewing. ACORD requested assistance with manual content migration, which Hodgson executed. Finally, we migrated the structured content from SharePoint and completed an extensive integration with netFORUM, which included single sign-on, profile editing, change password, request username, a special product purchase, and other custom functions. ACORD maintains a relationship with Hodgson through Webmaster Services.
GCAAR needed to redesign their website and transition from the Ektron content management system (CMS) to Progress Sitefinity. They wanted a seamless integration with their member database, Rapattoni 9, to provide member-only content and single sign-on (SSO).
Hodgson followed a proven five-step process to redesign the website and implement Sitefinity. We began with the Definitions phase, in which we conducted workshops to determine how the new site should look, feel and function. We created a modern, clean design and mapped all functionality through the use of annotated wireframes. We installed, set up and configured Sitefinity, and developed a custom Sitefinity connector that would work with the Rapattoni API to facilitate SSO. Finally, we trained the content providers, tested the site and pushed it live. GCAAR then chose to engage Hodgson’s Webmaster Services for ongoing maintenance and support.
About the Greater Capital Area Association of Realtors
The Greater Capital Area Association of REALTORS®, one of the largest local REALTOR® associations in the U.S., represents more than 10,000 REALTOR® members from Washington, DC and Montgomery County, MD, as well as industry-related professionals who follow the real estate business.
The Association for Jewish Studies (AJS) was seeking a complete website redesign, including the selection and implementation of a new content management system (CMS). In particular, they required a CMS that could be easily updated by nontechnical staff, and one that would integrate well with netFORUM, their association management system. The existing website was text-heavy and light on graphics, hard to navigate, and not encouraging member / user interaction. They also wanted to maximize search engine optimization (SEO).
Hodgson applied our proven five-step process and developed a clear project plan for AJS. We met extensively with the Board and the staff, and listened to what they wanted in the redesigned website: how should it look? How should it function? What capabilities does the CMS need to offer? After carefully considering different CMS platforms, we recommended and implemented Sitefinity.
This is a CMS that could be easily maintained and edited by the AJS staff, and offered a lot of the required functionality out of the box—a news module with social media sharing, an easy way to showcase directories and other resources, an events widget with simple registration, a calendar, and minimal integration with netFORUM (reskinning) or, if they later chose, a complete integration. Our design team presented visually appealing, clean designs from which AJS selected the look they wanted. We created an organized way to present publications and research materials, making it easy for members and nonmembers to find the material they sought and, if appropriate, subscribe. We offered guidance as AJS developed content to render it search-engine friendly. The website launched in 2017 and is quickly becoming a sophisticated, information-packed resource on Jewish studies for members and the general public.
The Association for Jewish Studies is a learned society and professional organization whose mission is to advance research and teaching in Jewish Studies at colleges, universities, and other institutions of higher learning, and to foster greater understanding of Jewish Studies scholarship among the wider public.
Hodgson began the project with a web strategy workshop, which included extensive audience research and the development of fictional personas that represented the expected audience for the new microsite. Detailing what these personas would seek and what challenges they would present and encounter, Hodgson was able to help Otterbein tailor the content and design to create an optimal user experience. After gaining this audience understanding, Hodgson was able to work with Otterbein to develop functional requirements for the Adult Admissions site, ensuring the site would meet the functional needs of users.
Hodgson’s design team created sophisticated designs that featured prominent personas and pathways. While remaining consistent with the Otterbein branding and colors, Hodgson was able to create clean, visually appealing designs that allow users to immediately self identify as one of six personas and then follow a specific user journey tailored to their needs.
Once the responsive designs were finalized, Hodgson created templates and implemented them into Sitefinity, the content management system used by Otterbein.
Otterbein was founded by the Church of the United Brethren in Christ in 1847. Those qualities built Otterbein to what it is today: a nationally recognized university offering bachelor and master degrees to a wide variety of students. The school included women as faculty members and as students from the founding, and was the first institution in the nation to do so. Otterbein admitted students of color before the Civil War and welcomed Japanese-American students who had been sent to internment camps during World War II. The school gave students a voice in its story through the unique governance system beginning in the 1960s. Today, students from diverse backgrounds enhance Otterbein's campus by sharing their unique experiences and perspectives.
The Lenkin Company needed a skilled web technology company to improve their website (www.lenkin.com) by making it more interactive, more emblematic of their brand, and more user-friendly. The site needed to represent Lenkin’s emphasis on long-term customer service as well as the rich history and longevity of their business in the Washington area. The original Lenkin website was essentially an online informational brochure built entirely in Flash—it featured few calls to action, a limited number of media elements, and almost nonexistent content management functionality.
In order to offer Lenkin an online customer engagement platform that faithfully represented their brand and various business lines (residential, commercial, and construction), Hodgson redesigned and developed their site on the Sitefinity platform. This user-friendly content management system is at once both affordable and robust—it allows their team to customize all images, calls to action, pages, navigation, and content.
Of particular importance on the new site are the pages that highlight each one of their residential properties. Each residential property page includes a prominent image rotator with photographs from around the featured building. Another key element of the property pages is the “Neighborhood & Map” section, which is a Google Maps overlay designed to highlight the building itself along with the restaurants, parks, grocery stores, museums, and other attractions in the surrounding neighborhood. Every residential building’s page also includes tabs for amenities, floor plans, and scheduling a visit to the property.
The new website allows Lenkin to showcase the numerous benefits they offer to their customers, both residential and commercial; it also invites the user to learn more about their various properties through clear calls to action. The new site is accessible to smartphone and tablet users as well, thanks to the replacement of Flash technology with a user experience based in HTML and CSS.
Since 1929, The Lenkin Company has been meeting the demands of the Washington, DC metropolitan area business community. As a full-service construction and management firm, The Lenkin Company is involved in the entire building process, from the pre-construction services and value engineering, to constructability reviews and construction management, and finally to post-construction services and property management.
In addition, The Lenkin Company offers the confidence, trust, dedication, and ingenuity of their team members. Over 100 years, and three generations, of combined experience is available to each client they work with. The result of this experience is consistently meeting and exceeding their client expectations.
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 to 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 the user experience. 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.
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.
Hodgson first became involved with Front Range Community College (FRCC) (www.frontrange.edu) when they were selecting a new content management system (CMS) for their site. At that time, we arranged demonstrations of Sitefinity for FRCC stakeholders, and we set up sandbox environments to allow FRCC’s development team to evaluate the features of the CMS through a fully hosted trial installation.
After FRCC’s web team had settled on Sitefinity as their new CMS of choice, they engaged Hodgson to design and build an innovative site that would offer their users an intuitive, personalized experience. We began the project by working with FRCC’s internal team to define the functional and business goals for the new site. With the requirements in hand, Hodgson’s designers were able to craft an entirely new look and feel for the FRCC website.
The updated design features prominent, red call-to-action buttons characterized by the “torn” effect prominent in FRCC’s print marketing materials. The dropdown menus in the main navigation are designed to draw the user further into the site and to encourage exploration (the featured images liven up these menus as well). Furthermore, the grid layout of the homepage and landing pages (e.g., www.frontrange.edu/getting-in) gives the site a very clean, balanced feel. It also allows users to easily find the content they seek, as it is presented in clear, discrete blocks throughout the site.
As part of the creative process, Hodgson’s project team conducted usability testing on designs to ensure that the finished product would conform to usability best practices. One key element of usability is the “breaking from tradition” approach to the main navigation. Often, higher education sites use a standard menu that includes “Academics,” “Admissions,” and “Student Life.” Instead of staying with established conventions, the FRCC team had based the new navigation primarily on the timing of the prospective student’s engagement with the College. During usability testing, we found that the new menu concepts created by FRCC were very clear and intuitive, and that an eye-appealing dropdown menu would draw a visitor deeper into the site.
Another important feature of the site is its capacity to provide a personalized experience to students, parents, and faculty based on which of the four campuses a visitor was associated with. By making a campus selection, a user has a personalized experience on nearly 40% of the site’s pages.
Incorporating the blog into the website was also a priority for FRCC, as they had an extensive collection of blog posts, contributed by both students and faculty. As WordPress blog posts are imported into the site, tags and categories are assigned to each post. Throughout the website, the blog widget is filtered to display posts specific to the content on the page, providing a greater amount of relevant information for the site visitor.
In addition to the elements discussed above, Hodgson’s developers built other useful features into the site: custom .NET controls to filter and display calendar events; campus alerts and emergency notification functionality; a searchable, sortable faculty and staff directory integrated with Active Directory; and IntelliResponse search results with a “Top 5 Questions” widget, which displays questions relevant to content on the page.
Front Range Community College (FRCC) is a two-year institution of higher learning with campuses in Westminster, Colorado; Longmont, Colorado; Fort Collins, Colorado; and Brighton, Colorado. It is the largest community college in Colorado and the number one transfer institution for the University of Colorado-Boulder, Colorado State University, and Metropolitan State University of Denver.
The Government Employee Benefits Association (GEBA) sought a web design firm to design and develop a new website that would accomplish the following goals: promote their brand; showcase their products and services; provide secure online applications and member services; and serve as a source of information and tools for current and prospective members.
The original GEBA site was using the outdated DotNetNuke (DNN) content management system (CMS), and it was characterized by an outdated design and lack of interactive online functionality. All insurance applications on the original site were handled via static PDFs that customers needed to fill out and mail or deliver in person.
Hodgson proposed a full redesign of the GEBA website (www.geba.com), including an overhaul of the dated look and feel of their site and implementation of a modern system that would replace DotNetNuke. We recommended Sitefinity, because it is affordable and because it includes the security features and extensibility of the Microsoft .NET platform.
After we worked through the strategy phase of the project with GEBA staff, our creative team mocked up several design options that were refined into a final, approved version. Our front end developers and Sitefinity developers worked together to build a working website that could be launched in time for GEBA’s midyear open enrollment period.
An important component of the project was the creation of new online applications, which were custom developed by Hodgson to ensure secure transmission of sensitive customer information over the internet. Hodgson continues to maintain and enhance the GEBA website in the context of a Webmaster Services contract, and our development team is currently building additional online applications to help GEBA better serve their members.
GEBA is a nonprofit member-owned employee benefit association dedicated to serving the federal employees of the U.S. Intelligence Community, Department of Defense, Department of State, FBI, and military and contractors assigned to NSA-W.
GEBA offers outstanding insurance and investment products from financially strong and highly reputable companies. Their licensed consultants integrate their expertise in insurance and investment products with their knowledge of federal benefit programs to provide personalized recommendations for GEBA customers and their families.