We have recently launched a revamped site for Times Education targeting newly qualified teachers with the NUT.
New Teachers is a core asset of Times Education, providing teaching tips, resources, online live advice chat and the latest job vacancies for new teachers.
Ixis have worked with Times Education for 4 years, providing development and consultancy support to a range of sites including assets for headteachers and the provision of careers guidance for schools. We also provide a hosting and support infrastructure that ensures the sites are secure and performing especially under heavy traffic loads at peak times.
Times Education have partnered with the National Union of Teachers to update and refresh the New Teachers site and Ixis were commissioned to migrate the site from Drupal 6 to Drupal 7 and apply the new design theme. Rather than use the traditional Drupal upgrade process we opted to move just the content and users utilising the Migrate module.
We took a phased approach to the migration with key client involvement at every step of the way. Content was evaluated during migration to see if there was any room for improvement in both functionality and usability. Existing users had to be migrated in order to keep the SSO functioning as expected and to provide a seemless transistion from old site to new.
The new site provides a much improved user experience and a clearer navigation, showcasing the content and maximising the resources provided for new teachers. Screen shots of before the site was refreshed and after:
The administrators now have full control over the layout of the site through a drag and drop Panels interface. This allows them to make fairly major changes to the layout of their site without them needing to dig down deep into Drupal configuration screens. The Panels user interface worked and looked beatiful with the block based layout of the new design.
In addition to a more flexible site layout they can also import resources from the main tes.co.uk straight into the New Teachers site automatically thanks to integration with their XML datasets, saving time.
Finally we re-architected the single sign on user authentication system fixing long standing issues which speeds up the user experience when interacting with the New Teachers website.