NOTE: Inforest Communications performed a subsequent redesign of the LAPA in 2017.

When Princeton University’s Program in Law and Public Affairs (LAPA) approached Inforest about reworking their existing site, they new they needed to fix their broken, proprietary content management framework with something easier to manage and completely robust. Drupal was an obvious choice for the project, particularly given Drupal’s support for managing large communities of users and it’s flexibility in both building and presenting site content, two important objectives for the LAPA website. In addition, Drupal also promised to be a good starting point for future site improvements LAPA was considering.

LAPA was very happy with their current site’s visual design, having invested considerable time and effort choosing fonts, colors and an overall layout that reflected their mission and interests. Thus, Inforest set about to largely recreate the existing site design, while making subtle changes and repurposing some design elements to accommodate changes to site navigation and architecture. At the same time, Inforest rebuilt the underlying HTML and CSS code to achieve a “responsive” layout that accommodates mobile and tablet screen resolutions.

Within Drupal, Inforest designed content types that matched various types of content presented on the LAPA site, which ranged from news and events to people profiles. Then, using a combination of database queries and the Drupal Feeds module, content from the existing site was migrated into the Drupal site. Using the Drupal Views module and custom templates, various indexes, summary and detail pages were recreated to match those of the original. Redirects were added to make sure visitors and search engines can find these pages after the site was launched.

Rather than attempt to migrate hundreds of user accounts, Inforest utilized the Rules module to automatically grant ownership of profile content to a user by matching the email address of the user to the profile. This eliminates the bulk of user accounts that were never used, as well as made it easy to disable or eliminate user accounts in the future, helping make the site more secure.

The result is an improved LAPA website which is dramatically easier to maintain, reclaiming hours every week that were previously used to administer the site. In addition, LAPA is able to retain the look and feel of their web design, while moving the layouts forward to accommodate an increasingly mobile audience.