Clean Systems for a Green Economy
- Drupal development
- Data migration
- Project management
- Large-scale project planning
- 40% decrease in overall load time
- 23% decrease in overall page size
- 620,000 unused accounts removed
- 60 products migrated
Back in 2008, co-owner Ethan Winn worked with Seventh Generation to move their site from a proprietary CMS to Drupal 5.
Because the folks at Seventh Generation are an amazing bunch who have trail-blazed social entrepreneurship and values alignment long before they were mainstream, Ethan enjoyed checking in with them over the years: hearing how their online presence was growing and how they were continuing to innovate.
Fast forward six years: Seventh Generation came to CoLab looking for a technology team with deep Drupal experience who could guide them through a responsive redesign focused on storytelling. Coming off a major migration project with the United Universalist Church, the timing was superb.
We drove to Burlington, Vermont and got to work.
We turned wireframes into responsive prototypes for the team to click and tap through. We gathered requirements and talked about best practices. Mostly, though, we listened.Working closely with Seventh Generation's art director, we watched as a little bit of magic happened: sketches and grey boxes imbued with DNA, giving voice to the story Seventh Generation wanted to tell.
STORYTELLING — LOUD AND CLEAR
The importance of storytelling speaks for itself these days, especially if your products are driven by high standards of ethics and sustainability. As a certified B Corporation, a pioneer in corporate responsibility and a consumer rights advocate — through campaigns like Fight Toxins — Seventh Generation has a lot to say.
The goal of Seventh Generations updated digital storytelling strategy is to create rich landscape of powerful stories within which to situate consumer engagement with their products and frame a powerful user journey spanning their website, social media channels and email marketing campaigns. We worked together to extend this vision and their initial site concept across their site: designing updated product pages and interweaving product information within their storytelling pages.
To support this storytelling strategy, we built a flexible framework for Seventh Generation to publish time-sensitive stories mixed with evergreen content. Stories that are reflective of Seventh Generation's mission — quotes, infographics, images — can be pinned to specific positions the story grid. The grid supports custom styles for each card, allowing the content team to craft unique cards on the fly.
Because Seventh Generation's social and environmental work is tied so closely to its products, it made sense to reflect that relationship in the storytelling framework. Stories, products and authors can be associated with one another, with support for more complex associations and personalized recommendations in the future.
TECHNICAL STRATEGY — MAKE IT WORK
Being a large-scale Drupal project, we had hurdles (aka mountains!) to overcome. Instead of starting with a fresh site, we made the strategic technical decision to build on top of the existing one.
This meant using update hooks — in Drupal parlance — to fit Seventh Generation's existing data into a new architecture. These update hooks did everything from categorizing stories to importing products from a 3rd party service.
LOOKING AHEAD — DESIGNED TO GROW
Developing a system that could adapt to Seventh Generation's evolving business goals was at the forefront of our process.
With this platform in place, the best stories are yet to come.
CoLab delivered 150% on the collaborative approach. That made a huge difference to the success of the project. They weren't just looking at the short-term goal, but also the long-term strategy for storytelling, user experience, performance and scalability. It was invaluable and they completely delivered in that regard.