Please describe the scope of their involvement.
We have created a community publication for the storytelling component of our sites, which is managed by Bluespark. They also make an effort in inviting the community to participate in it.
For both projects, Bluespark has worked on both back-end and front-end development. We brought them in for a few different reasons. One of the main facets in which we use them is to keep our Drupal system updated.
We leverage hosting through Acquia. That's where our entire infrastructure is located. Bluespark helps us with security updates, making sure that our systems are maintained and are free from any security vulnerabilities.
Bug fixing is another part of our collaboration. If we're working on something and need it to be fixed, Bluespark acts as an extension of our team in terms of development.
These are efforts made for keeping the lights on, but Bluespark has been valuable in helping us innovate and change how we manage our communities, pushing the envelope a little bit. We don't need to be bleeding edge and have a website in 2016 that looks like it belongs in 2018. We don't want to fall behind either, so they've helped us in erasing some technical debt. We've not had the best development partners in the past, so Bluespark has helped us improve efficiencies, particularly in the back-end, from a Drupal administration standpoint, making my team more efficient.
They've helped us punch out some features that we wanted to each site. Some of these have included synchronizing both of our platforms with the same back-end, making sure we used the same image library configurations in both places. This allows both of our teams to be proficient with our data platform.
The bigger project we're working on is a complete redesign of the site. We're changing the design of the plane while we're flying it. Bluespark have sat down with us and determined what the goals that we were trying to achieve were. They got a good understanding of that and brought some designs and concepts that would help us achieve those goals. One of them is to get to get to a million page views per month. We have enough content in order to do that, but we may choose to present it differently. We want to make the site a bit stickier. When we get people to our site through searches, we want to ensure that we deliver other types of relevant content based on a page's topic.
We also want to make sure that the site is mobile-friendly. We've seen traffic coming in through various devices. A third goal is updating our navigation. We've had some challenges in terms of how things are structured on our site. There has been a complete change to how it looked five years ago. We wanted to maintain a fit to our old look, but also get more freedom in terms of how the site is navigated through the main page.
The size of the team has been small. I've worked with a total of six or seven different people. When we work on design, there will be a couple of people we collaborate with. For development, there are other team members who come in.
How did you come to work with Bluespark?
Luckily, the process didn't involve much legwork. I work within the marketing group. I am unique among my peers due to my technical background. I am familiar with Drupal, and I've been involved in tech support, so I possess the necessary jargon. Our IT person knew about Bluespark and brought them in. We told them about the problems we were having, including security updates and new features we wanted to build. They put together a proposal that looked great, although it was a bit more expensive than what our previous partner cost us. From my perspective, it's been worth the extra cost.
What is the status of this engagement?
Our relationship is ongoing.