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SCORE.org: User Experience for 320+ Sites On One Flexible Platform

Olivia Phillips, Director, User Experience
#User Experience | Posted

SCORE.org is helping Americans start and grow small businesses with their free, confidential business advice. In order to have maximum reach and impact, SCORE teamed up with Phase2 to create a Drupal system that is flexible enough to accommodate 320+ local chapter sites that support their own content production, without eschewing overall brand and design standard of the national site.

Next week at DrupalCon in Baltimore, MD, I will be taking the stage with SCORE’s Director of Marketing, Candice Stennett, to speak on the success of this build and partnership. In the meantime, I sat down with Candice to get her perspective on the project from a marketing standpoint. 

Q. Can you tell me a little bit about SCORE’s previous platform organization and functions and the challenges that led you to needing a redesign?

A. SCORE is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the formation and growth of small businesses in America. We achieve our goals through our free mentoring and low- to no-cost seminars for aspiring and existing small business owners. Our website, www.SCORE.org, is one of our largest delivery channels, connecting our clients with our mentors and our workshops.

We were previously using a Drupal 6 website that was originally implemented in 2011. Since that launch, we have made many changes to the website that led to lots of erroneous code that had been created by several different agencies. This website was also tied to our internal-facing volunteer center website and our custom CRM system. The outdated design was also not aligned with our brand.

Additionally, each of our 320+ chapters had a website modeled after our national site. The chapter templates did not allow for a lot of customization which led to our volunteers finding creative and varying ways of displaying content.

In summary, the design and integrations made it difficult for end users to find the services and information they needed. It was critical for us to update the site to meet the increasing needs of our clients and volunteers.

Q. What was your strategy to overcome these challenges?

A. Beyond a new look, we needed the site to help clients understand who we are and what we have to offer. Our strategy was to simplify the main navigation to focus on our services (mentoring and workshops) and resources. We also built the chapter sites with our brand and their customization needs in mind.

Q.What part of the redesign has made the biggest impact on your business?

A. The chapter website structure has been critical to the success of this project. Because of increased flexibility and functionality, all SCORE chapters have moved (or are in the process of moving) to the new website template. This helps us present a unified brand to the public and in sharing and organizing content better than we have in the past. We are able to quickly and easily connect our clients with local mentors and resources from any of the SCORE.org properties.

Q.Why did you select Phase2 as a technology partner?

A. We selected Phase2 as a technology partner because they took the time to understand our needs and provide a solution for our challenges. They were a true partner in the project, collaborating in every aspect of the work, asking questions, anticipating and meeting our needs every step of the way.

Q.What advice do you have for organizations with a similar organizational structure?

A. If I could offer one piece of advice, it would be to take the time to find the right partner for your project. We’ve worked with dozens of vendors in a number of tech projects and the ones that were the most successful were the projects where the vendors operated like a part of the team. You need a partner that is not only going to provide technical expertise, but also one that’s going to work to understand your business to identify and solve any related challenges that might exist. The right partner can mean the difference between success and failure of a project. I have no doubt we made the right choice for our website redesign.

Read more about our DrupalCon session here. And if you’re attending DrupalCon Baltimore and would like to speak to me about UX and flexible platforms, please reach out: @phase2

Olivia Phillips

Director, User Experience