Four years ago, Kiwanis.org. was designed with a free open source content management system that was neither user-friendly nor intuitive. The client found it difficult to use, and their staff had to be trained and retrained in its system processes. With multiple microsites and the need for increasing flexibility in site management, Kiwanis wanted a much more user-friendly CMS for its redesigned site.
The CMS architecture needed to handle Kiwanis’s specific development requirements, and be expandable as new microsites are added during the coming years. The specific requirements included:
- Ability to utilize Flash within the site.
- The ability to support multiple languages, starting with German, Spanish, French, Italian, Dutch, Japanese and Chinese.
- A CMS that was easy to use across various technical skill levels.
- Support for a workflow that included authors, approvers and administrators.
- Ability to accommodate standards compliant custom design with valid Tableless HTML and CSS.
- Ability to seamlessly handle multiple microsites which complement the Kiwanis brand standards.
- Ability to create custom modules for features such as the Club Locator and Custom Polls.
- Ability to easily customize social media modules as a template approach to all program sites.
Kiwanis turned to BoxCrush® for the redevelopment of the site. “Having worked with Kiwanis for years, we have the benefit of understanding their organizational structure, the need for efficient and complementary microsites, and the desire for a CMS that offered flexibility and ease of use, ” says Dan Finney, President at BoxCrush.
“As we looked at CMS options, one stood out above the rest: Sitefinity offered everything Kiwanis needed, including the ability to customize modules for multiple applications. The clean backend work done by Telerik allowed us to focus on creating and implementing custom design in compliance with modern Web standards. We were able to collaborate with the Kiwanis IT team, allowing them direct access to the project, enabling us to prototype and refine features based on their requirements,” continues Dan Finney.
After analyzing several content management systems, BoxCrush and Kiwanis chose Telerik’s Sitefinity CMS as a starting platform to develop Kiwanis.org. Sitefinity is cohesive, easy to use, and offers a great launch pad for us to develop a solution to every one of Kiwanis’s requirements.
“Sitefinity follows ASP.NET mechanics so, as a developer, I was able to take all my knowledge of ASP.NET and transfer that knowledge to Sitefinity. I was impressed with Sitefinity because it is very well designed, programmable and customizable. Their modules are click-and-drag ready. Also, because Telerik is a toolkit vendor for Windows and Web applications, the company bundles up their toolkits for use with Sitefinity, making integration easy and seamless,” says Levi Burton, Lead Developer at BoxCrush.
During the development of both Kiwanis.org and the Worldwide Service Project microsite (
http://www.kiwanis.org/wsp), the following out of the box Sitefinity functionality was much appreciated:
- Clean user interface
- Support for multiple languages
- Unique design and graphic interfaces
- User-friendly CMS with Authors, Approvers and Administrators
- Ability to develop custom modules
Using Sitefinity, BoxCrush was able to take the Kiwanis design for the parent site and template it, develop the language localization features, solidify workflow integration and customize additional modules to meet and exceed client requirements.
In the case of the Worldwide Service Project microsite, BoxCrush created custom design. Following the Kiwanis brand standards complementing the main design, the Worldwide Service Project stands alone as an independent website within a website. With customized comment polls in all eight official Kiwanis-supported languages, the Worldwide Service Project website had an accelerated timeline and actually launched prior to the Kiwanis.org site.
The Worldwide Service Project website is one of many microsites that will launch within the first year. Each will live within Kiwanis.org but be self-contained, with a separate mission and goal. Sitefinity helps make it easy to have these microsites with design tweaks and templating that offers seamless integration.
The client is pleased with Kiwanis.org and the Worldwide Service Project website. BoxCrush was able to meet and exceed all client requirements by developing with Sitefinity. The client now requires less training and retraining of internal staff members, and finds this site much easier and more intuitive to use. They have been able to implement social networking features earlier than anticipated.
The site has also accomplished the client’s workflow needs. Offering the ability to have a person author an article and another person approve it has greatly enhanced the workflow. Information can be approved and dated for upcoming release at a specified time.
The client is also happy with the efficiency of the language module. Offered in eight languages, the Worldwide Service Project website automatically appears in the end user’s default language and presents only translated pages out of the English version’s site map. Translation is seamless from one language to another, including taglines, headlines and subheads, tooltips and hovers.
With a multitude of microsites, the ability to customize modules was a big win for Sitefinity and for BoxCrush. The custom Club Locator can be found on the main Kiwanis.org site and the custom poll module with multilingual commenting can be seen on the Worldwide Service Project site. With so many different microsites, the need for further customization will likely be great, and Sitefinity offers the ability to customize according to client specifications.
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