Balnearios de España
Migration from Drupal 6 to 8 and rapid development of a new design
The client needed to quickly undertake a migration to Drupal 8 and a new theme. Metadrop put its best tools at the disposal of this project.
The National Association of Spas
The Spanish National Association of Spas (ANBAL) was established more than 100 years ago with the main goal of promoting and defending the interests of the sector. The main requirement for membership is to have medicinal mineral waters declared to be of public use. The Association is currently made up of 60 spas throughout Spain.
The Association's website has the mission of centralizing all external communication and providing internal communication tools, ranging from information about the existing spa offer in Spain to the management of job offers or the publication of the Association's magazine.
At the end of 2019, ANBAL required urgent intervention to migrate its website, developed in Drupal 6. As in previous occasions, the migration was also an opportunity to modernize the website, improve existing tools and add new functionalities. In addition, all this should be done in the shortest time possible.
- Much more than an informative website: The association's website fulfils a double role: on the one hand it is the visible face of ANBAL, but on the other it must be able to act as the website of those associated spas that do not have one. That is why the individual page of each spa must be able to behave as a small website in itself.
- A fine-tuned multi-language: In the tourism industry it is essential to speak your guests' languages correctly. The Internet is almost always the first contact the visitor has with the establishment, so ANBAL's site must be perfectly translatable into Spanish, German and French.
- External... and internal communication: ANBAL's website has a less visible but no less important goal. Through a private area, members have access to internal communication tools such as circulars, as well as the management of job offers.
- Simple and powerful editing: The informative part of ANBAL (legal, FAQs, etc..) requires the creation of complex pages capable of reflecting different types of information, but editing must be kept simple.
The main challenges of the project can be summarized in two: to ensure a smooth migration and to be able to develop a new theme in a short time. In order to do so, Metadrop put into play all the experience acquired in previous projects.
Although the jump between Drupal 6 and 8 is an abyss, the tools that Drupal provides to speed up migrations are excellent and at Metadrop we have a lot of experience with them.
In the blink of an eye we were able to transport all the news, spas and circulars from the old system to the new one without losing any information along the way.
A successful content migration allows both, us and the client, to focus on what really adds value avoiding tedious and repetitive tasks such as the manual copying and pasting of dozens of texts and images.
On the left, a page of a Spa in Drupal 6. On the right, the same page migrated to Drupal 8.
A complete and timely redesign
The world of web development is constantly evolving and every few years new and better tools are incorporated, allowing developers to implement the ever-changing design trends. If a page does not update its design, the passing of time is relentless and it becomes obsolete as it loses its synchrony with the rest of the websites. This can be counterproductive in sectors with high public exposure as it results in an unmodern and unattractive image.
- A component-based approach: To speed up the development and increase the resilience of the new design, we work with components, i.e. reusable and independent pieces (such as an image gallery or photo text) that are grouped and sorted to create pages. This approach allows us to reduce the interdependence between elements, be faster and introduce less potential for error.
- Our own design: ANBAL completely trusted Metadrop the choice of design to implement in its new site. The result completely follows the principles that prevail on the web today: flat, spaced, clear and ordered, giving priority to quality over quantity through a limited gallery of well designed and perfectly functional elements.
- Mobile by default: Web traffic from mobile devices is growing. In Metadrop, all our websites are responsive by default and adapt perfectly to all possible screen widths.
- Easy to use: Thanks to the component design and the use of editing tools provided by Drupal, the ANBAL team is able to quickly compose new pages in which to display a variety of information using an entire gallery of elements designed specifically for this project.
External and internal communication
The new website maintains and expands the existing communication tools. In addition, we do not forget the important private part of the website, where ANBAL associates have a series of tools at their disposal.
- Pages and search engine of spas: The potential client must be able to quickly locate the associated spas, access their information and learn about their services. To do this, we redesigned the map of spas that allows you to know their location, the search engine and the individual spa page. The search engine benefits from faceted, real-time filtering and geolocated search for a perfect user experience.
- News for the outside, circulars for the inside: ANBAL has two communication tools: the news, which allows you to communicate with the general public; and the circulars, which are internal documents only visible to members in their private area. The circulars can also attach documents for download. Both systems complement each other and guarantee effective communication at all levels.
- Newsletter based on Mailchimp: ANBAL customers also have at their disposal a Mailchimp-based newsletter that we have integrated into the new website in a simple and intuitive way.
- Employment opportunities: A third interested group is the workers, who can apply for positions offered by ANBAL through the existing employment exchange in the web. A simple and intuitive form allows them to send their application, which can be consulted by all members.
- Uploading magazines in PDF: Finally, the printed edition work that ANBAL does in the magazine "Balnearios" also has its echo on the web through the listing, archiving and downloading of the PDF version of each issue.
Using old and unmaintained versions of software has several problems associated with both security and, in general, obsolescence of both design and functionality. In the case of Dupal 6, this version reached its end of life (from which point the maintainer freezes its development) in February 2016.
With the redesign and migration to Drupal 8, ANBAL take a leap forward and gains in the process new capabilities and a design in line with the times. In addition, a solid foundation is established from which any future development will be much easier.