The Marine Corps Association and Foundation operates multiple web presences with sites dedicated to the association and its two publications, Leatherneck and The Marine Corps Gazette. The multiple web presences posed several challenges for the MCA&F. The first major challenge was that each site had its own specific branding so that members were confused as to whether or not they were associated. The MCA’s main site and each publication had their own look and feel and members had to learn how to work within each site in order to locate the information they sought.
Accessing the wealth of content available in the print edition of the magazines was challenging on each site as there was no repository for members to find articles and no easy way to display the magazine online. Articles were manually copied from the Adobe InDesign print file and posted as a PDF online. This time consuming process limited the number of articles that could be viewed online and the depth with which members could interact with those article.
In addition to the incongruous branding and user experience, the staff at MCA&F and the publications were not in alignment with regard to the maintenance and growth of each of the web presences and would continually duplicate efforts to improve their individual site. MCA&F turned to Unleashed Technologies to address the inconsistencies across the sites, limited user engagement, challenging user experience, and manual effort required to update and maintain the site.
Unleashed Technologies worked closely with the MCA&F team to understand the expectations of the membership and internal stakeholders for how the sites should function and how best to deliver content. MCA’s old system was built on Drupal 6 with limited functionality. Unleashed Technologies upgraded MCA’s sites to Drupal 7 in order to implement a wide range of enhancements and deliver a site that better exemplifies the mission of the organization. The following are among the many improvements that were made to the site as part of this effort:
As a result of the enhancements made to the site, the MCA&F has a platform that enables it to successfully serve its members in support of its mission. MCA&F members can now more easily access information, engage with the MCA and realize the many benefits of membership. As a result of the new development and design of the MCA&F sites, members will now:
In addition to the benefits for members, the integrations into IMPak and an automated XML importer that translates print files into web content mean that the team at MCA&F can now devote more time to fulfilling the organization’s mission and less time performing manual updates to the site and its databases.
The new MCA&F website has unified the three formerly distinct web presences to ensure that the look and feel, navigation and access to information and content is intuitive for all visitors. The enhancements and upgrades help the organization to fulfill its mission by driving more value for members and helping to spread awareness of the rich traditions, history, and esprit of the United States Marine Corps.
Unleashed Technologies had a plan for integrating all of our legacy systems, which was a holy grail for us. We always saw this as a goal for the distant future because there hadn't been a company that could do this for us. After a year of working with them, we were able to deploy our unified sign-on. Our members can log in and go from one site to another, being logged-on automatically. It sounds simple in the frontend, but it was a complete nightmare in the backend.
– Margot Cornelius, Digital Operations Manager