Drupal Consulting for The Association of Magazine Media (The MPA)

DPCI provided Drupal consulting and Drupal development services to help MPA launch a redesigned Website for the association.

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The Association of Magazine Media (MPA) is the industry association for multi-platform magazine companies. Established in 1919, MPA represents approximately 225 domestic magazine media companies with more than 1,000 titles, nearly 50 international companies and more than 100 associate members.

Over the past decade the magazine industry has experienced a major paradigm shift from print to digital. MPA management sought to rebuild the organization’s Website at www.magazine.org in order to better support association members as they navigate the changing times. The hope was to continue to present high quality information around traditional publishing, while also broaden the purview of the MPA’s content offerings around new media approaches.

Likewise, the MPA wished to improve the usability of www.magazine.org as well as the accessibility and quality of content that can be found there. By concurrently improving the semantics, information architecture, and searchability of the site to better match the evolving taxonomy of magazine media, MPA management felt it could buttress its position as the leading association representing the magazine industry’s changing needs while also dramatically improve site visitors’ experience.

Additionally, MPA sought to improve the discoverability of content on major search engines, and looked for a Web content management technology and implementation partner to help optimize www.magazine.org in order to increase Web traffic for site visitors beyond just association members and MPA employees.

The MPA Website is a data-rich resource that provides industry news and research, statistical information, legal developments, event details and registration to its members and key constituents. MPA members expressed most frustration with the search tools and findability of these resources. Thus, MPA stakeholders identified information architecture as a key element of the Website redesign.

The association was using a proprietary Web content management system that made it difficult for MPA staff to edit or enhance the Website without intervention by a third-party development firm. In addition, the cumbersome nature of the existing CMS prevented staff members from keeping content fresh throughout the departmental sections causing many areas of the Website to appear out-of-date.

One of the popular MPA member benefits is the member-only daily newsletter which is created in HTML and delivered to member’s inboxes. MPA staff assembles the daily “Roundup” from MPA-specific news and events as well as industry headlines aggregated from across the globe. The association hoped to simplify the time-consuming production workflow by building the custom newsletter functionality into the new CMS.

MPA management considered adopting an open source Web content management system that would allow their staff to fully manage www.magazine.org. MPA selected DPCI to help define an enhanced user experience and improved information architecture that would get users quickly to the information they seek. DPCI recommended Drupal 7 as the underlying Web content management system to meet the association’s needs.

DPCI provided Drupal consulting services to develop an attractive and intuitive Website to demonstrate MPA’s leadership in the publishing industry and for users to interact with the broad range of content offered by the association.

DPCI began by facilitating a group brainstorming session with MPA stakeholders on the changing controlled vocabularies in the magazine media industry. DPCI then used that session to help MPA think about how the organization could present information on the Website with more up-to-date terminology than those that existed in the past in a print-only paradigm.

Next, DPCI worked with MPA staff to analyze the existing Website architecture – where information may have been organized well and where there might have been issues around the information architecture. DPCI next reviewed survey information collected from MPA association members to understand where they may have had difficulty with the way information is presented on www.magazine.org.

DPCI next met with MPA stakeholders to elicit and document solution requirements for the new platform. DPCI sketched the desired Web page layout and functionality through wireframes, and worked together with MPA stakeholders to develop the new sitemap. Heavy emphasis was placed on leveraging terms that were defined in the taxonomy brainstorming session when sketching out navigational elements.

Once the solution requirements were validated and approved by MPA staff, DPCI translated the requirements into technical specifications for the implementation of a Web platform that would dramatically improve the content management workflow for MPA staff and enhance the online experience for both member and non-member site visitors. To migrate MPA’s legacy content, DPCI developed scripts to import content from the old CMS into Drupal.

DPCI implemented Drupal to support the content management needs of both the MPA and its sister organization, The American Society of Magazine Editors (ASME). Though the MPA and the ASME sub-sites share the same Drupal backend for content management, each association has a separate look-and-feel and navigation.

To quickly engage site visitors, DPCI created home page carousels on both the MPA and ASME Websites, using the Nodequeue module, which allows content editors to enhance the home page with eye-catching content previews. To support the image needs throughout the Website, DPCI configured the Media module to provide enhanced image upload, search and retrieval functionality within the Drupal environment.

DPCI used the Taxonomy module to define subject-matter terms for categorizing content and then configured blocks in Drupal to promote related content to site visitors. To improve search performance, DPCI integrated Drupal with Apache Solr search platform using the Apache Solr Search Integration module. Solr not only provides MPA with an enhanced search mechanism for the Website but allows visitors to use faceted search to further filter search results using the MPA-defined taxonomy.

MPA maintains all user and event details in its Association Management System, iMIS 15, a software solution that leverages Microsoft’s .NET platform for managing associations, membership, non-profits, and fundraising. The association required that the new Website integrate with iMIS for user authentication, security groups, event calendars and online event registration.

DPCI developed a custom Drupal module that uses Web services to integrate with MPA’s iMIS system for user authentication, event calendar access and online registration. On a scheduled basis, the module imports event details from iMIS into Drupal. Then, MPA’s content editors can enhance the listing with registration details, location information, sponsors, an event agenda and associated speakers. To help site visitors easily view what upcoming events the MPA has planned, DPCI configured the Calendar module to display all events in a monthly calendar format.

One benefit of MPA membership is access to premium content that is unavailable to non-members. To meet this requirement, DPCI configured the Node Privacy by Role module to allow MPA content editors to mark specific content nodes as member-only. User authentication takes place through the connection to iMIS and each iMIS security group is associated with a corresponding role in Drupal.

Within the Drupal CMS, content editors can now build the Roundup, MPA’s daily member-only newsletter. DPCI provided a custom editorial interface where content creators can compile links to external news headlines, MPA events and press releases, and then simultaneously publish the newsletter to both the Website and the Informz email marketing system.

The MPA Website also offers employers and job seekers access to post and find jobs or internships. DPCI configured the Drupal Feeds module to populate the careers section of the MPA Website and the Roundup with data from the Boxwood Job Bank System RSS feed.

To enable social sharing, DPCI implemented the ShareThis widget. Users can now share content to popular destinations including Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. DPCI also configured a site-wide social media block using the Twitter Pull module that gives users constant access to MPA and ASME tweets.

MPA launched www.magazine.org, powered by Drupal in September of 2012. Through the redesigned Website, MPA can better demonstrate its leadership in the magazine media industry.

While the resources available from MPA are expansive, site visitors can quickly access the information they seek through intuitive navigation, related content blocks and sophisticated search. The Drupal CMS provides MPA staff with the tools needed to keep content up-to-date, allowing MPA to more effectively communicate industry related research, news and events to its members and key constituents.

"DPCI's domain expertise, guidance and professionalism helped us to meet our Website redesign goals," said Frank Costello, EVP/General Manager MPA. "The MPA now has an online presence that reflects the vitality of the magazine media industry while providing an improved user experience for access to industry research, news, events and more."