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UNE students on campus

University of New England

UNE relies on Redfin to have knowledgeable Drupal experts supporting their internal communications team. In 2019, we collaborated with UNE to upgrade their website to Drupal 8. This included an updated and accessible design.

The University of New England (UNE) is Maine's largest private university including a new campus in Tangier, Morocco. UNE offers a wide variety of degree and certificate programs across a wide range of disciplines. UNE is Redfin's ninth higher education client.

UNE partners with Redfin in order to have reliable and knowledgeable Drupal experts to help support their internal communications team. UNE is now able to focus on content development and marketing, while leveraging Redfin's expertise to continually improve their online presence through new features, integrations, optimizations, analytics, and Drupal training.

UNE home page

Why Was Drupal Chosen

Like other major universities, the scope of UNE's programs, research, and campuses is quite dynamic, which required a CMS that could display information in a clear and consistent way. As new offerings are added, however, UNE needed the flexibility to adapt content for different geographic, academic, and marketing contexts.

Using Drupal paragraphs module, for example, allows content editors to consolidate marketing landing pages from a 3rd party service to their own site, which saved them considerable time and money. These paragraphs will also be open to other department and staff pages allowing editors to make different layouts while keeping the overall look of the site consistent with branding standards.

Redfin conducted target audience interviews to understand how students and other users are interacting with the website. This gave a better direction for how to improve the website in a more intentional way.

One of the major goals of Redfin's support of UNE was to streamline the content creation process and eliminate the need for content editors to have advanced WYSIWYG skills to build marketing and other pages. We are currently migrating to Paragraphs-based templates, which content editors can use to add areas of content in any order they wish. Once this work is complete, the site will be ready to upgrade from Drupal 7 to Drupal 8.

The heavy lifting of styles and formatting is taken care of with Sass and custom pre-processors. Redfin used Syntactically Awesome Style Sheets (Sass) to control the code of the website design. This allows UNE content editors to add to the website or change the style of different elements without needing to worry about the formatting or how the element will respond on mobile devices. Simple dropdown menus or buttons provide choices that remain cohesive with the rest of the website and in line with the UNE brand.

For instance, elements such as the UNE logo, menus, and the banner picture automatically adapt to the width of the device you use to view the site.

UNE about page for desktop devices
UNE about page for mobile devices

Like many projects we work on, Redfin inherited the UNE site from previous developers. Over the years, the site passed through many hands -- each with their own development styles. Redfin performed a site audit to determine if there were any major issues with the site that should take priority prior to further site development. We addressed any and all major site issues and then developed a backlog of tasks that should be worked on as monthly support hours permit.

The goal is to work on issues that will save UNE time and leave others to be addressed when the site is upgraded from Drupal 7 to Drupal 8. Site documentation is continually added to both for content editors and Redfin and UNE development teams so that future collaborators can develop using best practices.

Redfin and UNE maintain their partnership throughout the duration of the update to Drupal 8 and beyond. Redfin trains UNE content editors and works with them to keep the website secure and up to date by continually optimizing and adding new features.

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