Maastricht University corporate website

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The Case
Short introduction
The University of Maastricht is known for its unique education system: problem based learning (PBL). In addition, the UM is profiling through strong international orientation. An increasing number of students from both the Netherlands and abroad choose the Maastricht system. Maastricht University is the youngest university in the Netherlands and is growing rapidly. There are currently around 16,000 students and 4,250 employees. Education and research of the UM is mainly organized on the basis of faculties and schools.
Launch date
The previous website consisted of approximately 55.000 pages where the correct information was hard to find. Cutting down to a lean 4.500 pages and presenting those in a clear concise way, connecting to various systems like SAP, HODEX, Tripolis, UMAPI, Personal Profile Pages and Pure, giving users access through an ADFS connection, those were only some of the challenges put before us. Searching these and associated websites was another.
The UM website needed to be renewed. Students, staff and externs indicated that they could not find the information they were looking for due to the unclear menu layout and the inadequate search engine. The purpose of this project was to provide the visitor with the right information, at the right time, in the correct language and the correct format for the device he/she is browsing with. Ultimately, satisfaction with the UM's digital information will result in sharing this information with others.
In August 2014 Finalist started the UMweb project.
In co-operation with two parties, one for an extensive communications strategy and another who developed a new corporate visual ‘language’ for Maastricht University, we started the discovery phase of this project.

Working together with the design team, the communications team and various stakeholders from the university we embarked on a journey towards a new digital strategy to build upon for the coming years.

Dozens of editors will be working to keep the website up to date. 8 workshops were held to find out what requirements the new website had to meet. After this initial inventory, we launched the implementation in October 2014. Due to the different nature of digital information that the University has to provide in the website, a connection was required with many systems, such as SAP, Hodex, Tripolis, UMAPI (enterprise service bus), Personal Profile Pages (PPP), Pure and SSO/ADFS. This technical challenge has been solved through the use of different interfaces based on web services. For the search of the various systems: we have used SOLR and Nutch on the website, affiliated websites and newsletters.

As a result, all the Maastricht University information is easily accessible through a logical menu structure and an adequate search engine. This includes extensive information on education (80 programs with 2400 courses), the organization units (faculties and service centers such as the university library) and research (research units, researchers and publications). The new website contains news, events and blogs. The old site with over 55,000 pages has been replaced by a new, more compact and customer-friendly site containing about 4,000 pages. The site is responsive and fluid for desktop, tablet and phone. In addition, editors can customize the pages with sections such as text, video, highlighted, publications, social media, personal profiles and photo carousel.
Technical challenges
An important challenge was the amount of data coming from different sources which of course had implications for storage and performance. This was solved by using the proper infrastructural tooling, like Varnish, together with the right configuration so Drupal can flourish. Second important challenge worth mentioning is sophisticated and diversified visual design. Lots of different layouts, templates and widgets and ultimate freedom for the editor to compose a custom layout while maintaining the structural integrity. Mainly solved with the smart combination of template files, Display Suite and the Paragraphs module.
A third important challenge would be the import mechanism on employee profiles. A special application was built that heavily uses the University’s enterprise service bus. This application was built with Drupal and offers a RESTful interface to provide clients, like the corporate site, with the employee profiles.
Challenges in (combination of) modules
The use of the paragraphs module gives the editors unprecedented freedom in content presentation, we’ve created several paragraphs, ranging from simple text blocks via RSS Widgets to complex timelines and organisational charts. Clean HTML templates and layouts were developed using the famed Display Suite module, in combination with the FortyTwo theme this resulted in a semantic correct, responsive, accessible website. The workbench and workbench moderation combo provides a sophisticated workflow for the editors, giving full control of publication revisions and statuses. Most of the listings, like studies, on the site are generated by views using Search Api and Solr, Facets are used to filter results.
Contribution form the project to the Drupal-community
FortyTwo - Several enhancements
Epsacrop - Patch to add support for Media Module.
Path Breadcrumbs - Adds support for
CER - Exception thrown when deleting an entity with a field collection
Responsive Table Filter - Regex Fix
CKEditor - Fixes some performance issues with CSS Filter
Semantic Views - Removes a colon
Social feed field - This module makes it possible for editors to create a list of social media posts in a entity that are combined and ordered by created date from several different social media channels.
Search API Fast - Provides drush commands to index fast with search API (using all your CPU cores). It's an effective multi-process approach by spawning new drush commands that handle queues.
Token Insert - Multiple patches to make the module behave and work better. and
File Entity (fieldable files) - Patch to fix an issue with wrong filenames when downloading files.
Replicate paragraphs - Fixed an issue with empty object not being cloned. Now skip that ones.
Name client
Maastricht University
What does the client think about the project?
Have the client tell something about the project, the cooperation and the final result.
“What is different after two years of hard work? The site is ‘leaner’ with some four thousand instead of 55 thousand pages. And not unimportantly, it is visitor-driven. ‘Nobody goes to our website just for fun, there is always a reason, and for a prospective student the reason is different than for an alumnus or benefactor,’ says project leader Manon Gorissen.”

Manon Gorissen is also proud of the way education, the members of staff and research have been woven together. If you go to a bachelor’s study programme, you get an overview of all subjects. At a glance, you see who is the block co-ordinator, while another click will reveal all personnel information and publications. ‘Together with the library, we have started the PURE project, which lists researchers’ publications. We have managed to link that to the website.’”

Source: Observant Online