When NACADA came to Engage, their website held 20 years of accumulated articles, spread out over thousands of hand-maintained, static HTML pages. We created a tool to crawl their site, grab the content, and then transfer that content into structured storage within their new DotNetNuke-powered website. The conversion process enabled us to clean up much of their content automatically, and then organize it to fit their new streamlined content paradigm. NACADA has many large sections of content that we helped them to manage, merge, and isolate, providing a strategy to clean up their navigation and site map.
A large part of the content migration process was moving the articles into appropriate sections: "Clearinghouse" (main resource directory), "Academic Advising Today" (quarterly publications), and the "NACADA Journal." Being able to identify and separate the content early on during the strategy phase made creating a better user experience a simpler process. We took each section and created its own micro-branded skin, navigation, and search without sacrificing the site's overall brand and theme. This kept things consistent and branded, while allowing each section to stand on its own.
To provide best-in-breed searching across all of the content within their new site, Engage made use of the Google’s Custom Search Engine functionality. This allowed us to have substantial control over what was searched, and how the search experience behaved. In addition, the Custom Search Engine functionality comes free, without advertisements, for non-profits like NACADA. NACADA was able to setup multiple types of searches for the different sections of their site, maintaining the experience NACADA wanted within each collection of content.
NACADA has a number of independent regional groups. Engage was able to give each region their own section of the site to control, while still promoting a similar design aesthetic between regions and the main site. Many of the regions had very similar types of content, but had major differences in their organization and navigation. Engage created a common navigation pattern after analyzing each region’s pages, and built a consistent layout for each region page to follow. Users could move from region to region and still be able to find the information they wanted, while each region still maintained control of creating and delivering their content. To help people know which region they were associated with, Engage created a custom map-based navigation which kept the geographical aspect of each region highlighted.