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Mar 31 2021
Mar 31

The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) are a series of specifications developed and maintained by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) for the purpose of ensuring that websites are accessible for people who have disabilities. Due to technological advances and evolving perspectives on web accessibility challenges that individuals disabilities face, the WCAG is regularly being updated and revised. The current version of WCAG 2.2 was issued on Nov. 30, 2020, and the WCAG 2 Series is coming to an end with a new WCAG 3.0 under development.  

WCAG 3.0 will not undo the previous versions, but will extend and provide greater clarity concerning current guidelines. 

The following are some of the questions that I get asked most frequently concerning the upcoming shift to WCAG 3.0. 

 

What’s the current status of WCAG 3.0?

On January 21, 2021 the W3C published the first working draft of what will become WCAG 3.0. This is just a draft and there is the opportunity now to suggest revisions as the W3C works toward a final version. At this point, there is no set date for the publication of the final draft. 

 

Why are ongoing revisions to WCAG standards considered necessary?

The W3C changes the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) for a few reasons. One is to apply the guidelines to new technologies. Technology changes over time so the WCAG needs to change with it. Another is to move toward guidelines that are easier to understand and allow for greater flexibility. Finally, the W3C is committed to broadening the scope of the guidelines to expand web accessibility by covering a greater depth and breadth of disabilities. 

 

Are there features of WCAG 3.0 that could potentially simplify compliance?

One of the goals of the WCAG 3.0 is to increase understanding of the guidelines. This is accomplished by replacing success criteria with outcomes, techniques with methods and understanding documents with how-tos. While I would argue this is not really a simplification of the WCAG, I do believe by replacing the “grey areas” of WCAG 2.2 with expected outcomes, methods and how-tos the overall feel and functionality of WCAG 3.0 will lead to  guidelines that are easier to understand and apply. 

 

FREE Webinar! Register now for WCAG Now and What’s Next. Get insider insights into what to expect with WCAG 3.0.  April 20, 2021, 11 a.m. CST.

What is Promet’s position on the direction the revised standards appear to be moving in?

The revised standards appear to be trying to place less importance on any one rule, while at the same time attempting to create a more balanced picture of any website in comparison to all of the standards. Rather than the current pass/fail system, WCAG is moving toward a score-based system. Here at Promet, we see this as an important step toward increasing accessibility for all by allowing for a better picture of the true accessibility of a site and drawing attention to any aspects of the site that would make the site completely inaccessible to certain segments of the population. 

If we've achieved Level AA WCAG compliance, will we need to have another accessibility audit? 

It is always recommended that audits be conducted on an annual basis. Websites are rarely static entities, and if content is being added to a site or changes are being made, then an audit for accessibility is advisable -- regardless of the status of WCAG or whether a revised version is being issued. It is important to point out, however, that any content that conforms to the current version of WCAG will continue to conform to the new standards under WCAG 3.0.  

 

At this point, should we just just wait until we see what’s in WCAG 3.0 before testing or remediating our site for accessibility?

While the standards are changing it is always best to do as much as possible now to ensure accessibility. The foundational WCAG concepts (Perceivable, Operable, Understandable, and Robust) are not changing, and remain the basis for both WCAG 2.2 and 3.0. Any accessibility upgrades completed today will be a step toward ensuring alignment with the new standards once they are released. 

At Promet Source, we're passionate about opportunities to make web experiences engaging and inclusive for all. Let us know what we can do for you!
 

Mar 25 2021
Mar 25

It's widely reported that Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math professions are in slated for the highest growth potential in the coming years. To varying degrees, women are under represented in these fields. Latest statistics indicate that women account for 27 percent of all STEM workers in the United States, and a much lower 15 percent of engineers.

While these figures do represent progress -- only 8 percent of all STEM workers were women in 1970 -- many find the needle to be moving forward at a disappointingly slow pace. Far fewer women than men are entering STEM careers, and they exit at a far greater rate. 

There's, of course, a complex set of factors at work here, but the long-term advancement of women in STEM calls for early intervention that helps young girls to get excited about the possibility of a career in STEM, and to believe that the field is wide open and welcoming for them.

At the same time, helping women who are currently in STEM roles to amplify their visibility and their voice, can serve to strengthen both their professional stature and potential to serve as role models. 

Promet Source had the honor of partnering with Lyda Hill Philanthropies on a site that's laser focused on these two related objectives.  The IF/THEN® Collection features 125 women across a wide variety of fields, selected as Ambassadors to serve as high-profile role models for middle school girls.  Using a talent agency approach, IF/THEN® supports the Ambassadors and their inspiring work by showcasing them on a national platform.

Read how the IF/THEN® Collection website is advancing its mission and vision

With an ambitious goal of getting these stories and images of women in STEM careers in front of adolescents wherever there is an opportunity to have an impact on cultural norms -- schools, libraries, museums, community centers and more -- the IF/THEN® team had a distinct vision for their Drupal website

Innovative web design and development solutions that help to bring new possibilities to life for our clients is what we are passionate about here at Promet Source. Let's talk about what we can do for you.

Mar 23 2021
Mar 23

Whether working with a Drupal consulting company on a new web build, or starting out as a Drupal developer, Drupal terminology often emerges as a sticking point. There’s a lot of Drupal jargon that’s not intuitive. 

As a Drupal Trainer, I’ve found that a lot of time can be saved and confusion spared with an upfront overview of terms that have a distinct meaning in Drupal. Clarity on Drupal Terminology can kickstart efforts to both talk the Drupal talk and walk the Drupal walk, so here’s a quick guide to essential Drupal-specific vocabulary to get started on that journey.

 

1. Content

Content encompasses both text and images displayed on a website -- including photos, logos, icons, and other graphic items. 

2. Views

A View is a display of content items created by the Drupal Views module. It can be a list or grid or table, a full page or a block on a website.  News items, for example, can be displayed as simply titles, or with teaser content, as a carousel display, or even as an RSS feed to export items to an external source. The benefit of creating views of content is that edits just need to be made once to be automatically updated everywhere that a view of that content is displayed. 
Looking at the Promet Source site as an example, clicking “Insights” on the main horizontal navigation lists the five most recent blog posts. The View displayed here is a list of with basic information about each post. 

Screen shot from the Promet Blog Views pageThe Promet Source blog Views page lists all blogs on the site, arranged by date, with five per page. Each item on the list includes the blog's title, author, date published, the first few lines of the post itself, an image, and a link to the full post.

 

3. Content Type (Entity Bundle, Entity Type)

A Content Type, sometimes referred to an an Entity Bundle is a grouping of content used for a specific purpose with fields for various types of information. Most sites have multiple content types.  A blog post is an example of a content type. A grouping of fields hold the data for each blog post that is created and displayed on the website. The following post from the Promet Source Blog is an example of a Content Type.

Example of a Promet Source blog post as an entity typeThe Promet Source blog post content type has a field for an image, the author’s name, the date of publication, Keywords, Related Posts, and styling specifications for headers and fonts.  

 

4. Content Item or Node

A Content Item or Node refers to an individual instance of a content type. Referring to the Promet Source website again as an example, blogs are an example of a content type and each blog post on the site is an example of a Content Item or Node. 
 

Check out Promet’s current Drupal training lineup and register NOW for the class that fits your needs.

5.  Core

Core refers to the central Drupal codebase that provides the basic functionality of every Drupal website. Core is the base upon which Drupal sites get built. Each component of core has a dedicated maintainer. Contributed modules or themes are integrated into core as they receive widespread acceptance and usage. 
 

6. Contributed

As an Open Source content management system, Drupal community members can contribute modules and themes that are then available, free of charge or licensing fees, for use by other members of the community. While there is a relatively stringent review process for contributed modules and themes, the quality of contributed code can vary. 

7.  Modules

Drupal modules (the equivalent of WordPress plugins) are collections of files containing PHP, JavaScript, and/or CSS code that provide some functionality of a website. Modules on a Drupal site fall into one of the following categories: 

  • Core modules are included in the Drupal core. While many core modules are enabled when Drupal is initially installed, there are others that can be enabled as needed. 
  • Contributed modules are created by members of the Drupal community and contributed back to the full Drupal community. The contributed modules extend the functionality of the Drupal core to provide features many websites require. These modules can be downloaded from the Modules download section of drupal.org., and installed within a Drupal installation to assist with integration of third-party software, enhance SEO, and many other features. 
  • Custom modules are created for a specific site application. For instance, a developer might create a custom module for a site that needs a feature related to proprietary data or to extend the functionality of a core or contributed module. Best practice is to use contributed modules before writing a custom module since contributed modules are maintained by a larger community and subject to security reviews, whereas custom modules are not. 

8. Themes

A theme is a set of files that define the look and feel of a Drupal site. Themes can be either core, contributed, or custom. Drupal core provides several basic themes but most sites create a custom theme or start with a contributed theme that can be downloaded from drupal.org. 

9. Taxonomy

Taxonomy is a way to classify or organize content on a Drupal site and group related content into categories. Taxonomy added to a News Item, for example, might include Taxonomy Terms or local or international items. This would allow Views to sort and create a list view of local news items or international news items. A Taxonomy added to the Staff Member content item might include Taxonomy Terms that denote departments in an organization (HR, Design, Manufacturing, Sales, etc.) Views could then create a view of only staff members in the Sales department to display on a page.

Screen shot of the search bar from the Promet Source blogTaxonomy facilitates internal search on a website. The "All Topics" dropdown above provides a list of frequent topics covered on the Promet blog, and is is an example of Drupal taxonomy

 

10. Menus

Menus are a collection of links used for navigating a website. Drupal includes several standard menus, which can be edited and additional menus can be created to meet a variety of navigational requirements. The standard Main menu is built by site administrators as pages are added to a site. The standard Management menu is the menu available to site administrators to access administrative areas of the site. The standard User menu contains links for logging out of a site and accessing the user’s profile page. Each menu automatically creates a block of the same name that can be placed in various regions across the site.


Drupal is woven into the DNA of Promet Source. We build Drupal sites, support Drupal sites, and offer a robust Drupal training curriculum. Contact us today and let us know what we can do for you!

Mar 10 2021
Mar 10

In the current, digitally driven climate, search engines serve as gatekeepers, determining whether and where a site appears on search engine results pages (SERP). Latest stats indicate that 93 percent of all web traffic is routed through search engines, with Google accounting for the vast majority -- 76 percent of all desktop search traffic and 86 percent of all mobile search traffic. 

This amounts to more than 3.5 billion Google searches globally every day, amounting to more than 1.2 trillion searches per year. 

Google is constantly refining its search algorithm, which means that the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) process needs to be an ongoing effort to ensure that a website and its pages are optimally aligned with the ways that the search engines index, crawl, and rank a site on a on a SERP.
 

Fortunately for Drupal site owners, multiple modules and features have been designed to boost SEO.  
 

Drupal is considered by many to be a top-ranking CMS for SEO features and functionality. 

Optimizing a Drupal site for the search engines is an essential competitive imperative. It requires awareness of the top Drupal modules, as well as close attention to the steps that will align a site with how the search engines operate. 
 

SEO in Action

Optimizing your Drupal website for search engines helps drive organic traffic to your site with a high rank on the search engine results pages for targeted keywords, key phrases, or queries. 

The closer to the top that a site appears on search engine results page, the greater the impressions and the traffic that it is likely to receive.  

The example below, from a search for “human centered web design,” reflects the impact of effective targeting for a specific key phrase. 
Human Centered Web Design SERP

Human Centered Web Design SERPAn example of a search engine optimized Drupal Site appearing at the top of a search engine results page.

There are key steps to follow to ensure that your Drupal site is optimized for SEO.

Download our SEO for Drupal Get Started Guide with recommended Drupal modules.

Keep in mind! The Google Search algorithm is constantly becoming smarter and more refined, and distinct expertise is needed to ensure optimal strategic alignment

Looking for support and consultation to ensure your SEO strategy is positioning your site for maximum advantage? Our team can take your site's SEO to the next level. Contact us today

Mar 03 2021
Mar 03

A little over a year ago, the global pandemic struck and all planned events came to a screeching halt for the foreseeable future. Here at Promet Source, we quickly adjusted, leveraging a wealth of knowledge we had acquired from our track record of successful collaborations around the world. Within the Drupal Community at large, the learning curve might have been more steep, but it appears to have been rapidly scaled.

In signature Drupal community style, tech solutions were explored, adjustments were made barely a beat was missed as networking, learning, and growth kept right on going. 

Last month’s Florida DrupalCamp took the virtual event experience to a new level for many of us as we got to experience gather.town in action. Promet’s Chris O’Donnell and Aaron Couch collaborated on a presentation of some breakthrough new possibilities for Drupal during their “Drag and Drop Content Management in Drupal,” session, and Promet Source is always thrilled to get to serve as a sponsor of Drupal events.

Onward to Drupalcon 2021 next month, April 12-16. Hope to “see” you there and in the meantime, here are some thoughts on Florida DrupalCamp from a few of us from Promet Source who participated in the event. 

Q.  What drew you to Florida DrupalCamp this year?

Chris O’Donnell: I presented at Florida DrupalCamp last year (in unusually cold weather!) and wanted to reconnect with the Florida Drupal community. Of course it was 78 degrees and sunny this year, when nobody could travel there! 

Luc Bezier: Promet Source is sponsoring several camps every year and I’ve heard a lot from the team about Florida DrupalCamp Florida. I am in Europe and since the camp was being offered this year, it was a great chance for me to participate, without having to get on an airplane. 

Danita Bowman: It was definitely the weather. Oh wait! It was virtual so that couldn't have been the reason. But seriously, I have wanted to attend Florida DrupalCamp for several years and it just never was the right set of circumstances. With the camp being virtual this year, it fit perfectly with my schedule.

Q. What was the highlight of the event from your perspective?

Chris: Reconnecting and catching up with far flung Drupaler’s that I had not spoken with in quite a while -- since last year’s Florida DrupalCamp in some cases. 

Danita: The highlight of most camps and other Drupal events is connecting with old friends and meeting new ones. That was the case this year with Florida DrupalCamp. 
 

Q. What were the top takeaways from your participation in Florida DrupalCamp?

Danita: Aside from Chris O’Donnell and Aaron Couch’s presentation on Drag and Drop Content Management in Drupal, the top takeaway for me was that the Drupal Community has weathered the last year just fine, but we are all really itching to drop the “virtual” from our meetups. 

Q. How did the virtual event technology differ from what you are accustomed to? 

Chris: This was my first event using gather.town. I was initially skeptical as every attempt to recreate the on-site convention experience has been disappointing so far. However, gather.town does an amazingly good job of recreating that serendipitous “running into somebody in the hallway" experience that is so important to Drupal events. 

Luc: The conditions right now are forcing organizers to find new tools to reproduce the interaction we normally have at events. We were able to create an avatar and hold conversations as little groups with gather.town. Nothing beats the face-to-face events of course, but this was a good way to get to chat with other attendees and speakers. 

Danita: I can't say enough good things about the experience this camp provided with gather.town. For the first time in more than a year of virtual events, I once again got to participate in my favorite part of events - the hallway track. 

Q. Any comments on the Drupal Community’s ability to power through during difficult circumstances?

Luc: It’s really great to see that despite the ban on face-to-face events the community keeps on creating and organizing opportunities to connect. This proves that Drupal events, and tech events in general, are very important. We need those to learn and connect with others. 

Danita: I've been impressed with the Drupal community throughout this year, as I’ve watched so many events pivot on short notice to virtual but still provide great training sessions and experiences for attendees. The organizers are to be commended for their resilience and determination to keep the Drupal community engaged. And the entire community is to be commended for staying in the game and showing up with a continued commitment to learning, growth, and contribution.

At Promet Source, Drupal is in our DNA. We demonstrate an ongoing commitment to contributing and connecting to new possibilities for Drupal sites that solve complex challenges. Interested in  a conversation about leveraging what’s new and next with Drupal for your next project? Contact us today!
 

Feb 25 2021
Feb 25

When speaking with government clients, I’m often asked about web design trends. 

The fact is, design trends for government sites have very little to do with colors, fonts, or any sort of fleeting fashion. Nor are government sites the place where the boundaries of technologies such as augmented reality, virtual reality, or voice control are being pushed.

What matters most for government sites is trust, transparency, and ease of use. 

Government sites have a lot of heavy lifting to do, and more so than ever before, these sites are serving as a central hub from which constituents keep informed about events, monitor public health alerts, take care of official business, stay connected to the community, and a lot more. 
 

Web Design at Work

Those responsible for government and public sector sites tend to be very savvy about the need to engage constituents and ensure that the navigation and overall experience of their sites align with what visitors are looking to accomplish. The pandemic, of course, catapulted the importance of excellent UX to the forefront, but as COVID-19 hopefully heads for the history books, expectations for the UX of government sites will remain high. 

Given the depth and breadth of content that often needs to be organized and accommodated on government sites, modern design practices such as proper use of white space along with a spacious and fresh feel that mitigates against clutter and confusion is an essential best practice. While the interior pages of the site often need to be more content-heavy, an open and inviting home page serves as an engaging launch pad for a wide range of user journeys. 

Once the key persona groups who visit the site are defined, and the user journeys are mapped, the essential focus needs to be on streamlining and simplifying the UX, with a focus on removing any potential roadblocks or frustrations. 
 

People First

A people-first design philosophy is the “trend” that serves as a key driver for us at Promet Source. This calls for a recognition that government sites are being designed for a broad range of users -- those who are young, those who are elderly, users who are accustomed to conducting business online, users who are easily frustrated with technology, users with disabilities that require assistive technology to access the site, and a wide swath of users within every spectrum. Given the complex content models and scope of objectives that government sites need to accomplish, we find that Drupal is the CMS tends to be the best suited

Much of the world’s websites and many government sites among them are running on outdated, clunky user interfaces that were developed long before the concept of user experience or UX entered into the general lexicon or the discipline of web design. Now that we understand the design imperative of defining end-user needs, goals, motivations, and pain points, we are much better positioned to leverage design thinking as a solution to streamline user experience journeys. 

The fact is, design trends for government sites have very little to do with colors, fonts, or any sort of fleeting fashion. 

- Peter Ross, UI/UX Designer

Among the indicators of this trend is increasingly friendly and highly contextual navigational language. One example would be navigational tabs that represent a walk-through to specific talks. Rather than a “Forms” tab, or a list of departments, for instance, a tab we recently designed for a county website read: “I want to.” Clicking that tab resulted in a sub-menu of options within the categories of: 

  • Apply for
  • Pay for 
  • Register
  • Report
  • View

Visual Storytelling

While there are a multitude of tasks that need to be accomplished on government websites, a well-designed government or public sector website factors in a lot more than information and functionality. Perspectives and messaging can be intricately woven into the design, through a holistic approach to collaborating with government clients and drawing upon multiple disciplines to create the look, feel, messaging, and the entire experience that conveys the government entity’s story and identity. 

Working closely with content and development teams, we’re able to optimize engagement, conveying information a manner that is both creative and informative. 

This holistic design approach to the user’s experience on a site digs much deeper and ensures a greater degree of inclusivity than simply asking, “does it look nice?” Government websites truly need to work for everyone.

The more we strategically approach design and UX and the more we educate ourselves and others on the best practices for inclusive design the better everyone will be for it. I see it as an opportunity to be conscious of others and unite within a digital platform.

Working in close collaboration with federal, state, county, and municipal clients, Promet Source is making a difference and having an impact. Interested in starting a conversation concerning the distinct objectives for your website? Let’s talk
 

Feb 17 2021
Feb 17

Seeking to ultimately create a globally centralized, online presence for all of its commercial customers, Lenovo reached out to Promet Source for a range of initiatives that included a performance audit, a Drupal 8 migration, integration with the Lenovo Martech stack, consolidation of 15 separate websites from 60 markets and 87 different languages into its Lenovo Tech Today site, and ongoing support. 

The result: a cohesive brand and online presence that enables Lenovo’s commercial customers worldwide to easily explore all of Lenovo’s commercial technology solutions that include workstations, servers, storage solutions, IT management software, smart TVs, tablets, smartphones, and apps.  

The success of this massive consolidation project was due in part to Promet’s development of a component-based, drag-and-drop page-building capability leverages Drupal Paragraphs.

Read more about how we helped Lenovo drive efficiencies with a cohesive global web presence.

Promet also established clear processes for enabling content editors and site managers within multiple markets worldwide to log in and easily update content or add pages. Site updates and revisions that would have otherwise taken a week’s time and required the help of an in-house IT support team or a local agency, can now be completed by non-technical site managers within a few hours. For Lenovo’s global commercial customer base, the consolidated Lenovo Tech Today site has provided the advantage of a consistent brand presence and user experience, along with significant operational efficiencies and massive cost savings.

Commenting on the impact of Lenovo's global website consolidation initiatives and engagement with Promet, Roman Olney, Head of WW Digital Marketing, PCSD Marketing, for Lenovo said,

Over the last few years, Promet has helped us navigate some complex technology needs that have driven significant efficiencies for our global marketing organization. With their support, Tech Today continues to grow and meet the needs of our customers in new and exciting ways.

Interested in consultation and support in managing complexities, while improving user experience? Let us know how we can help!

Feb 11 2021
Feb 11

The past 12 months have presented lots of opportunities for looking at life and work through a different lens. Many of us have gained a newfound gratitude for the people, perspectives, and technologies that have sparked new possibilities and powered us through.

Love is in the air as Valentine's Day approaches and here at Promet Source, we thought we'd take this opportunity to share an inside look at some of new inspiration, developments, and tools that we've come to love lately. 

1. Haben: The Deafblind Women Who Conquered Harvard Law

Denise Erazmus, Accessibility Specialist

This is the memoir by Haben Girma, who is the first deafblind student to graduate from Harvard Law.

So much of what we focus on as web accessibility specialists is empathizing with differently abled people in order to understand how they consume content. This book gave me even more insight into that experience by showing a picture of a girl born deaf, who goes through the process of losing her sight, but not her drive to succeed.  The memoir also helped to further raise my awareness of what members of the disabled community can accomplish, which I believe is absolutely anything.

Haben: The Deafblind Woman Who Conquered Harvard Law book cover

2. The New, Accessible White House Website

Peter Ross, Senior UI/UX Designer

I love all of the design and accessibility features of the new whitehouse.gov. I also love that a Spanish-language version has been reinstated into the WordPress CMS. The layout is clean and reads much more like a news site. 

Whitehouse.gov screenshotA screenshot from the newly designed whitehouse.gov site

 

3. CrossFit. Definitely CrossFit

Andrew Kucharski, President

I love CrossFit because it kicks my butt. It sharpens my focus for all aspects of my life and it has moved me beyond wellness into fitness. Plus: I get the self satisfaction of being disciplined enough to stay at it. Every. Single. Day.

Andrew Kucharski at CrossFitAndrew Kucharski, President of Promet Source and a serious CrossFit devotee

4. Dual Monitors!

Chris O'Donnell, Digital Strategist

I love dual monitors. I have no idea how I worked with a single monitor for most of my life. I'm planning to get a KVM switch so I can share my second monitor with my Linux PC and have two monitors on my personal set-up too.

Chris O'DonnellChris O'Donnell at his desk with two monitors going strong

 

5. The Snapchat Filter for Zoom

Chris Sensat, Graphic Designer

I love the Snapchat filter for Zoom. Remote meetings can take on a whole new life when there's the option of showing up for a moment or two from the beach, as a bandit, or as an alien, or with a cat on your head.

Snap Chat during a Zoom Call

6. Provus

Aaron Couch, Director of Technology Solutions

We're just getting started, and I love all of the new possibilities that Promet's Open Source, drag-and-drop page building solution is creating. Provus is giving marketers and content editors the keys to take ownership of their websites with the ability to easily build pages, revise page designs, and a lot more. 

Provus banner

 

7. LastPass 

Patti Cardiff, Director of Support Services 

I love LastPass! I have a zillion client passwords to keep up with. LastPass makes my processes much, much faster!

last pass logo

8. The Drupal Community!

Danita Bowman, Drupal Trainer

Until you are actually a participating member, it's hard to realize how awesome the Drupal community is and how much there is to love -- the support, the inclusivity, the way this amazing worldwide team is committed to helping each other, and the continuous contributions to making Drupal a better CMS for all. 

DrupalCon 2019 SeattleGroup shot from DrupalCon 2019 in Seattle

 

9. Sketch for Teams

Mic Seaton, Senior UI/UX Designer

Sketch for Teams allows for amazing new possibilities that includes seamlessly sharing designs with stakeholders, sharing feedback within the team, prototyping previews for user testing and research, and staying organized!

Sketch for teams

 

10. Google Data Studio

Ishmael Fusilero, Digital Marketing Analyst

I love the depth and breadth of intelligence that's available from Data Studio.  We leverage Data Studio internally, and the tool also helps us to offer our SEO and analytics clients highly precise levels of insights and recommendations. 

Data studio screen shot

At Promet Source, we're a diverse team of experts with passions that run deep and wide. What unites us is our enthusiasm for igniting new digital possibilities for our clients. Let us know what we can do for you!

Feb 03 2021
Feb 03

More so than ever before, government and public sector websites are called upon to multi-task,  functioning as the digital town square -- a central spot for connecting, conducting business, keeping informed, showcasing top attractions, and a lot more. 

Among government officials who are responsible for managing and making decisions concerning the right content management system (CMS), the margin for error is low and the stakes are high. Government websites need to be secure, scalable, engaging, flexible, accessible, dependable, and easy to navigate. As budgets get squeezed, websites also need to demonstrate cost effectiveness and all that factors into good governance.

Factoring in all that’s riding on getting it right, combined with our in-the-trenches perspective from hundreds of conversations and engagements with government clients, we at Promet Source rank Drupal to be the CMS that best stands up to the demands of public sector websites

We’re in good company concerning this assessment.

Drupal’s share of the government and public sector CMS market is built upon a solid foundation that includes these eight factors:

 

1. Drupal Integrates with other solutions and services.

Drupal plays well with others and this means a lot. Ease of integration with other services -- even proprietary solutions -- ensures that a government website will have the flexibility to accommodate both current and future needs. The Drupal CMS is a modular CMS, which serves as a foundation for easily integrating with other solutions. The value of this feature is compounded by the fact that Drupal is Open Source. As such, there is no controlling authority determining or limiting integration activity. Open Source also means that there are no additional costs or licensing fees associated with multiple integrations.  

2. Security is both transparent and robust.

Security is a paramount concern for government websites, and Drupal’s track record of superior security is a key factor contributing to its popularity among public sector clients. The fact that Drupal is Open Source means that government IT officials have access to the code for their sites and can exercise whatever level of due diligence they they feel that they need to in order to feel assured of the site can stand up to hacking and cyber threats. 

The 1.3 member strong Drupal community is collectively committed to eliminating potential threats with contributions of several security modules. Among them: Login Security, Password Policy, Captcha, and Security Kit. The Drupal Security Working Group is focused on ensuring that both Drupal core and the entire ecosystem of member contributions ensure both world-class security for Drupal sites.

Another factor worth noting is that Drupal is not a SAAS solution, which means that the site’s code is not commingled in a shared database.

3. Drupal accommodates multisites.

Any CMS for the government or public sector will need to accommodate a wide range of sites, and Drupal’s multisite feature streamlines the creation of multisites by enabling developers to copy the main site's code base and create as many offshoot sites as needed that leverage the same functionality. This represents a significant savings in both development costs and ongoing maintenance.

While the ability to accommodate multisites is now a standard feature among most CMS platforms, the factor that sets Drupal apart from the proprietary options is cost -- as in the absence of cost. As an Open Source CMS, there are no additional fees associated with the addition of multiple sites. 

Scalability of Drupal is intertwined with multi-site functionality, enabling brand guidelines to be be centrally maintained while individual agencies and departments can independently manage their content. 

4. Drupal sites can handle millions of hits.


Drupal’s inherent scalability is another important factor in the multisite feature, as a high influx of traffic on one site affects all of the sites on the same Drupal code base. 

Government websites need to be ready at any moment for a surge in traffic. Whether due to dangerous weather warnings, civic upheaval, or even a celebratory event, a government website is never more vital than when a critical mass of citizens flock to it at the same time. Drupal supports some of the most highly trafficked government websites in the world, and is built to handle both sudden surges and millions of visitors a month without crashing or breaking. 
 

5. Hosting options can fit specific requirements.

With Drupal, site owners can select the hosting vendor that best fits their needs, they can change hosting vendors whenever they feel the need to, and they can opt to host the website internally. This is not always the case with a proprietary CMS solution.


6. Multilingual support is built in.

Drupal supports more than 100 languages out of the box. Although all major CMS solutions offer multilingual support at this point, Drupal offers extra features that facilitate translation capabilities. 

  • The Content Translation module in Drupal allows pages and individual content to be translated by creating a duplicate set in the translated language. 
  • Entity Translation module allows particular fields to be translated.

7. Drupal sites are accessible out of the box.

Drupal is fundamentally committed to compliance with web accessibility standards, which is an essential consideration for all government and public sector websites. Clients can count on the fact that Drupal is compliant with the most recent Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.1). This is a key advantage of Drupal, as CMS solutions that rely more heavily on external plug-ins cannot be counted on to be in compliance with web accessibility standards to anywhere near the same degree. 

8. The Drupal Community is 1.3 million members strong.

The Drupal community is a huge advantage to both developers and public sector clients. As a longtime member of the Drupal community, I’ve experienced on many occasions the power of a 1.3 million member community who are invested in its success. There are no secrets in Drupal. It is built on a common OS dev stack, which means that Drupal developer talent tends to be more widely available than for proprietary CMS solutions. Help and support for whatever or question may arise within the community is freely and generously available. 

At Promet Source, Drupal is in our DNA. We serve as engaged contributors to the Drupal community and embrace the spirit of open sharing of expertise and solutions, along with a strong track record of designing and developing Drupal sites for government and public sector clients. Let us know what we can do for you!

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Feb 01 2021
Feb 01

The key points that need to be considered when testing mobile applications can be addressed with the following questions:

  • Which mobile devices and operating system versions will this application support?
  • How do we test applications to make sure they run on those platforms?
  • What modifications must be made to accommodate the differences among platforms?
  • How will industry innovations be supported going forward, since new mobile devices, technologies, and applications are constantly being introduced?
  • How do we know how much testing is enough?
Mobile Application Testing MatrixThe mobile application testing matrix becomes exponentially more complex with the addition of each factor to be considered. 

Hardware Diversity Compounds Complexity

In the PC test environment, testers have essentially only one central processing unit platform (x86- compatible microprocessors) on which they need to test applications. Most of the other hardware components that go into a PC or Mac, such as the disk drives, graphics processor and network adapters are usually thoroughly tested for compatibility with those operating systems and pose a relatively minor risk of problems. Their display formats also fall within a relatively narrow range of choices, and the input devices (mostly keyboards and mice) are well-known and familiar.

But mobile voice and data service carriers differentiate themselves by offering a wide range of handsets, each with unique configurations and form factors that can have unpredictable effects on the performance, security, and usability of applications.

Multiple handset options are built around a wide variety of processors, running at various speeds with widely varying amounts of memory, as well as screens of different sizes operating at different resolutions and in different orientations (landscape, portrait or both).

Many handheld devices rely on multiple digital signal processors (one to handle voice communications, the other to process the audio, video, and images associated with applications), as well as multiple input devices, such as a touch-screen and a keypad. Each combination of components interacts in different ways with each other, and with the operating system, and this creates potential compatibility and performance issues that must be addressed in testing.

 

PLUS Complexities from Software Platform Diversity

In addition to these hardware-based concerns, the tester must cope with the complexity of the software environment. To ensure that an application will work on most customers' desktops, a tester need only test it on the most popular current versions of the Windows, Apple Macintosh, and Linux operating systems.

To ensure performance on the same range of mobile devices, a tester must address all current versions of the iPhone, Windows Mobile 7, Symbian, Android, iPhone, and RIM Blackberry OSes, as well as the MeeGo platform developed by Nokia.

Applications must be tested for their compatibility with any of the networks on which any given device might run.The networks operated by different carriers provide various levels of bandwidth. Different carriers use different methods to tunnel their own traffic into the TCP IP protocol used by the Web, changing how applications receive, transmit and receive data. They also use different Web proxies to determine which websites their users can access, and how those sites will be displayed on their devices. 

All of these differences can affect the stability performance or security of a mobile application and must be tested to ensure that the the end-user experience works as intended.

Testing Mobile Apps on Device Emulators

Mobile application testing needs to take into account a wide range of target mobile devices to ensure that every possible interaction among hardware and software elements, as well as with the wireless carrier's network, is covered. However, acquiring every possible target device and performing manual testing on it is too complex, costly, and time-consuming to be feasible during every stage of testing.

Device emulators, which are software that simulates the performance and behavior of the physical device, are far easier to obtain and less expensive than samples of the physical devices. While they can be less accurate test platforms than the actual hardware, they can be a cost-effective alternative to testing on the physical device when used appropriately.

Emulators can be used to test Web applications using the software development kit for a browser or by packaging the application as a .jar, .apk or .sis (platform-specific) file, installing the application on the emulated device, and testing the application.

Since speeding time-to-market is often a critical consideration in app development, many mobile applications are developed using RAD (rapid application development) in which multiple versions of the software are quickly developed, assessed by end-users, and tweaked accordingly. This rapid-fire cycle of coding and re-coding makes it almost impossible to assess how each change affects the application's performance, stability, or security.

At Promet Source, we are adept at mobile application development, as well as the full range of processes and procedures required to ensure that apps perform as intended. While complexities continue to increase, the margin for error remains zero, and our commitment is is get it right the first time. 

Interested in help or consultation with application development or Quality Assurance of a mobile application?  Contact us today.

Jan 27 2021
Jan 27

It has become increasingly common to find located in the footer of many websites a link to their Statement of Accessibility. In a few cases you will find some sites with a VPAT (Voluntary Product Accessibility Template) and Statement of Accessibility linked. What are these documents? What is their purpose and should your site have one or both? 

VPAT vs. Statement of Accessibility

A Statement of Accessibility is a document that defines the current state of accessibility for a website. It provides an area where the site owner can let a user know they are working on the accessibility of their site and provide a method for the user to contact the site owner regarding accessibility issues.

A VPAT explains how a website, service or product meets the Revised 508 Standards, which refers to the law that requires that the federal government procure, create and maintain technology that is accessible, regardless of whether a particular site is actually a federal government site.

A Statement of Accessibility is a general statement on a site's accessibility and a declaration that the owner of the site is working to remediate any identified inaccessible features. A VPAT specifically notes any accessibility issues within a site as they relate to WCAG, Section 508 or even European accessibility guidelines. 

The Statement of Accessibility has basically says "we are working on our accessibility and here is a way to contact us with questions," whereas VPAT lists all of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines and whether the site is in compliance point by point. Here are examples of a VPAT and a Statement of Accessibility:

Often organizations are asked for their VPAT if they are receiving funds or working with the federal government in any capacity. It is Federal Government requirement to have a VPAT as part of the accessibility process.  Creation of this document can be time consuming and requires a full accessibility audit. 

Demonstration of Due Diligence

While these documents are similar in subject matter they are different in purpose. The Statement of Accessibility demonstrates to uses that you care about accessibility and the needs of those who require assistive technologies to access your content.  It helps to provide the user with information about the accessibility of content and demonstrates a commitment to accessibility and the community the website serves. 

The purpose of a VPAT can actually be more of a requirement than a voluntary statement. The VPAT is required for any business or service which fall under Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act, primarily those that do business with the federal government or receive government funds. The VPAT is intended to communicate to the wider procurement community the accessibility level or degree of conformance of the website, service, or product. 

So should you add a Statement of Accessibility and a VPAT to your site? While neither of these documents are guaranteed to protect your organization from legal action, they do help show that your organization is aware of any accessibility issues and is working to resolve them. It is appropriate to add a VPAT if there is any chance your organization will be subject to Section 508 regulations.

VPATs can take considerable time to create and if the need is there, it is advisable to have one in place. 


Looking for clarification concerning whether your website requires a Statement of Accessibility and/or a VPAT? We’re happy to help and if necessary, move forward with pursuing this documentation. Contact us today.

Jan 20 2021
Jan 20

Are your meetings falling flat lately?

For many, the realities of remote working are wearing kind of thin. We’re looking for ways to breathe more life into meetings and raise the bar for engagement, productivity, and yes, even fun. 

It’s easy to become frustrated with participants during a call when they’re on mute for most of the meeting, or texting, or only partially present. It’s true, of course, that this is business, and we’re all adults, and tuning out should not be an option. It’s also true that when the leader of the meeting gets intentional about a different approach to navigating group interactions, the energy and the impact of the meeting takes off in a new trajectory.

Remote meetings present distinct challenges, especially months into a global pandemic in which most everyone has been required to work remotely. Regardless of whether participants are sitting around the same table or separated by several time zones, there is so much that meeting facilitators can do to encourage all participants to lean in, actively contribute, and build upon each others’ ideas to come up with great solutions. 

Improv at Work

The rules of improv comedy can actually provide some great lessons for keeping meetings moving with all participants bringing their A-Game.

I had the fortunate experience of working with several coworkers at an interactive digital marketing agency who taught and performed improv comedy. I learned from them that the kind of hysterically funny, in-the-moment interactions present in improv is not as spontaneous as they may seem. Great improv results from a lot of study and practice. 

As it turns out, learning and following the basic “rules” of improv can have a significant impact on the energy and outcomes of business meetings. 

Here are a few improv comedy rules along with some thoughts on how they can be adopted for business. 
 

Rule #1: Say "YES"

“Yes AND …” along with “Yes ANDing” has emerged essentially as the catchphrase of improv. “Yes ANDing” is a skill that requires practice and, for many, a big mindset shift. 

The knee-jerk reaction during meetings tends to be either “Yes, BUT,” or a flat out “NO,” followed by all the reasons why a given idea isn’t feasible or isn’t based on adequately strategic thinking. 

  • “We tried that last year. It didn’t work.”
  • “Sounds good but have you thought about …”
  • “There’s no way we could get _______ to sign off on something like that.” 

While making someone else wrong might seem to represent discernment and critical thinking skills, the real impact is a gradual, or sometimes a swift, shut down of further contributions.

The objective of “Yes ANDing” is to validate, to be open to another perspective -- a Plan B or C -- to collaboratively build something together by adding to it.  

Here are some sample “Yes AND” responses:

  • “Interesting. I hadn’t thought about that, and this could be a good foundation for ...”
  • “We tried something like that last summer. That was when the market was very different  / or we didn’t do X, Y, and Z.”


The challenge, before shutting them down, is to help build out ideas, even if you don’t fully understand them or it wasn’t what you had in mind. For any number of reasons, the idea might not ever take shape, but taking the time to listen and learn, builds both productivity and relationships. 

Rule #2: Build up. Don’t break down. Keep it moving.

With improv, the second someone gets invalidated, the scene dies. A similar dynamic plays out in meetings when participants go quiet and they silently say to themselves:   “OK you figure this one out.”

Too often, poor participation and long silences stem from this kind of dynamic.

The genius of great improv is the pace. 

We don’t need to measure up to the lightning-fast wit of the improv pros from the likes of the TV show “Whose Line is it Anyway,” which ran from 1998 through 2007, but silence can kill the energy of a meeting, just as it does with improv comedy. Encourage participation and build from it.

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Rule #3:  Don’t ask questions. Contribute new information. 

This one can be a challenge to put into practice. The standard is to expect participants to defend their ideas or lead them into the realization that their ideas will not hold water. 

Avoid the expectation that only fully thought out suggestions are allowed to be voiced. 

Instead of:

  • “How could we ever expect the dev team to take this on?”

How about:

  • “I was talking with Deborah in dev the other day and she seemed really eager to try some new things. This might be right up her alley.”
  • “Let’s talk further about how we can get the dev team on board with us on this.”

Rule #4:  No Wrong Answers

We’re all familiar with the “no bad ideas” premise of brainstorming and the objective of a free-flow of lots ideas that spark other ideas, as a few “best” ideas start to emerge. 

Rules of improv are also built upon an understanding that making people wrong is wildly unproductive. The difference is that brainstorming is inherently focused on a number of ideas with the assumption that the vast majority of them will never see the light of day. Sometimes, brainstorming is exactly what’s needed, but improv is a bit different. It’s about co-creation and collectively building something together as a team.

Another difference: with brainstorming in general, it’s possible for some participants to sit back and others to dominate. Improv -- similar to Promet's Human-Centered Design workshops -- draw  in the whole group.
 

Rule #5: Everyone participates and brings their A game.

Improv rises and falls on the dynamic of the group. It’s not about who has the best ideas or who is the smartest. It’s about knowing each other’s strengths and how to best leverage them. We can bring this same principle into our meetings along with the expectation that everyone who has been invited to the meeting is there for a reason. 

With improv, everyone is expected to bring their A-Game, stay in curiosity, let go of their ego, take risks, and have some fun.  

Try injecting some rules of improv into your next meeting! First, inform your group of how it works and see how following these practices can actually enhance and motivate your team to have more participation, provide more ideas, and work together to create some new possibilities.

Interested in witnessing first-hand the impact of our collaborative energy on discovery session outcomes? Contact us today. 

Jan 18 2021
Jan 18

Human-centered design is a concept that gained traction in the 1990s as an approach  to developing innovative solutions based on a laser-sharp focus on human needs and human perspectives during every phase of a design or problem-solving process. Building upon the principles of human-centered design, Promet Source has served as a pioneer and leading practitioner human-centered web design. 

At the core of our approach to human-centered web design is a deep level of inquiry that questions all assumptions and engages key stakeholders in various exercises that call for letting go of individual preferences and moving toward an empathetic focus on optimizing the experience for the user. The results reveal new possibilities on multiple levels.

With an overarching emphasis on empathy, we look to open new opportunities by understanding the needs and expectations of the people who actually use the website. Sometimes this sparks a mindshift, that reorients the site architecture away from an organization’s internal structure, and focused instead on user journeys.
Too often, websites are architected from the perspective of insiders -- organized by department, without stepping back to ask: 

  • Who visits the site? 
  • What kinds of information are they seeking? 
  • How can we align the navigation of the site around what makes sense to users? 

The best web experiences leverage empathy, and begin with human-centered design processes that dig deep and question any all assumptions about how users’ interactions with the website can it be designed to ensure that they and easily find the information they need and that their experience of visiting the site is both engaging and value added. 

At Promet Source, we approach human-centered web design as a seven-step process.

 

1. Build empathy with user personas

The first and most essential question: For whom are we building or redesigning this site? Following the identification of the key persona groups, we proceed to dig deep, asking “why” and “how” concerning every aspect of their motivations and expectations.
 

2. Assess what user personas need from the website

Understanding of and empathy for user personas dovetails into an analysis of how they currently use the site, how that experience can be improved, and how enhancing their experience with the site can drive a deeper relationship. 
This level of inquiry at the front end might feel excessive or out of sync with what many are accustomed to, but as Tom Gilb, noted in Principles of Software Engineering Management, getting it right at the outset pays off tenfold over the cost of fixing after the site is released.

Ensuring that projects get off to an excellent start is at the core of what human-centered design is all about.

 

3. Map their journeys through the site to key conversions

Just as user groups do not all fit the same mold, what they are looking for from your site will vary, depending on what phase they are in relative to their relationship with your organization – what we refer to as the user journey. 
Too often, website design focuses on one aspect of the user journey. It needs to be viewed holistically, taking the perspectives of all user groups into account.

 

4. Identify Obstacles in their path.

Next step: identify challenges. We map user journeys through every phase, aiming for seamless transitions from one phase to the next.
This step calls for continuous inquiry along with a commitment to not defend or hold on to assumptions or previous approaches that may no longer be optimal, while pursuing answers to questions such as:

  • What have we heard from clients? 
  • Where have breakdowns occurred in conversions and in relationships?
  • How can we fix it with the messaging, design, or the functionality of the website?  
     

5. Brainstorm objectives

Our facilitated workshop setting is structured to build upon a productive flow of ideas via several exercises that draw upon stakeholder perspectives and expertise from multiple angles.

6. Prioritize solutions

While there are “no bad ideas in brainstorming,” in the real world of budgets and time, questions such as “how,” “what’s the cost,” “where to begin,” and “what will have the best impact,” need to be considered. 

As ideas are synthesized, these answers will begin to take shape.  

7. Create a roadmap for development

Too often, web design and development begins at this step. 
With human-centered web design, a depth and breadth of research, persona development, empathetic insights, journey mapping, solution gathering, collaborative energy, and excitement about what’s to come have already been invested when we get to this point. 
As a result, clients have the advantage of moving forward with a high degree of alignment among stakeholders, along with a conviction of ownership in an outcome that will enhance both the experiences and relationships with the humans who visit the site. 

Human-Centered Design Activities

The above steps help to define the “What” of human-centered web design. The “How” of human-centered web unfolds during facilitated workshops. Here are some of the activities that we leverage in the process of bringing human-centered web design to life.

Persona Development

Persona development example

Identifying individual personas helps to define the range of differing user needs and expectations, for purposes of tailoring solutions accordingly. 

Giving every identified persona a name helps to humanize the exercise and reinforces empathy for the actual users of the site. It also serves as a ready reference point or shorthand for further conversation for questions such as: 

  • What else is Joshua going to expect from this page?
  • Will this navigation make sense to Alexis?

Rose-Thorn-Bud

This exercise is designed to quickly gather a significant amount of data in response to specific and essential questions. Adopted from a Luma Institute collection of exercises, participants are given brightly colored Post-It® notes and asked to write everything that they view as an advantage or a plus on a pink (Rose) Post-It. Challenges or downsides are to be written on a blue Post-It (Thorn). Green

Post-Its are for collecting input on potential or emerging for opportunities (Bud). 
Every participant’s opinion ranks equally as responses are gathered and grouped on a white board according to identified categories. 

Affinity Clustering

Affinity cluster example

During this next step, the “Rose-Thorn-Bud” input is organized according to agreed-upon groupings, to reveal patterns, surface priorities, bring order to complexity, and spark productive conversation.

The use of different colored Post-Its is particularly useful in revealing that within a particular category there might be a mix of challenges, opportunities, or advantages. Participants might also have differing opinions as how to characterize a particular attribute.

For example, some stakeholders might view the current site architecture as a Plus (Rose), others might view it in terms of the inherent opportunity or potential (Bud), while others might be largely focused on the challenges of the and ways that the site’s architecture falls short (Thorn).  

In all cases, this exercise sparks engaging conversations and reveals new opportunities for achieving consensus.

Stakeholder Mapping

Stakeholder mapping results in what is essentially a network diagram of people involved with or impacted by the website. Typically, there are considerably more stakeholders than originally thought, and stakeholder mapping evaluates all the possible users of a system to then identify and prioritize needs and expectations. 

Abstraction Laddering

During this exercise, we guide teams through the process of deconstructing a goal as dig deeper into questions concerning “How” and “Why” for purposes of advancing toward greater clarity and specificity. 

Let’s take the example of the statement: “We need to get more visitors to sign up for a demo?” which on its own does not offer much context to develop an action plan. 

During a human-centered design workshop, we’ll move up the ladder going at least three deep to record answers to “Why” and down at least three deep recording answers to “How.” 

Importance / Difficulty Matrix

importance difficulty matrix

Inevitably, some of the ideas that emerge will spark excitement for the strategic leap forward that they could represent. The required time and resources to move forward with them, however, might exceed current capabilities. Other ideas might fall into the category of Low Hanging Fruit -- initiatives that can be achieved quickly and easily.

Plotting every idea on an Importance / Difficulty Matrix is an essential group activity that sparks conversation and accountability concerning Who, How, and When -- transforming good ideas into action items.

In the current environment, organizations tend to be defined by their digital presence. The stakes for getting it right are high and the margin for error is low. Optimizing ideas and perspectives at the outset, and continuing to iterate with feedback creates a strong starting point that serves as a superior foundation for web solutions that are capable of heavy lifting over the long haul. 
Interested in learning more about the possibilities for a human-centered design workshop in your organization? Contact us today.

Jan 12 2021
Jan 12

2020 was hard.

At Promet Source, we’re planning for and counting on 2021 being easier and better in many ways.

We realized last year that there actually was something we could do to raise the bar for 2021 and make life easier and better for everyone who manages a Drupal website. 

We developed Provus.
 

What is Provus?

The brainchild of Aaron Couch, Promet’s Lead Solutions Architect, Provus is Promet’s newly launched Drupal platform. Utilizing Atomic Design principles, Provus combines the latest drag-and-drop page building tools in Drupal with a curated library of design components, enabling content editors to easily layer designs, add functionality, and rearrange layouts.  

An essential differentiator from other drag-and-drop tools is the degree to which Provus empowers content creators, while at the same time adhering to an organization’s brand guidelines to ensure consistency and aesthetic alignment. 

From a development perspective, Provus is allowing for vast new efficiencies as we work toward eliminating the wall that had previously existed between easy-to-create and manage SAAS solutions, and scalable Drupal solutions, for websites that have complex data models and a depth of content.
 

New Perspectives and Possibilities

Provus was inspired by the realization that nearly every website consists of various combinations of roughly 15-20 types of features or patterns. By organizing a library of high-quality components that can be repurposed for low-code, no-code site building, we create a foundation for:

  • Easier content editing capabilities with drag and drop functionality
  • Greater design flexibility within defined brand standards
  • Streamlined development using Drupal’s proven content models

The Provus Technology Stack

Provus Technology Stack Promet’s Open Source Provus starter kit for component-based Drupal sites is based on Atomic Design principles using Emulsify as the base theme and leveraging Storybook to create a library from which the newly themed components are mapped into Drupal Layout Builder for a flexible, dynamic, drag-and-drop CMS. 

Provus in Action

Traditional Drupal theming includes CSS and JavaScript selectors that are intertwined with their context, connecting them to the backend implementation. The result of this “theme for the page,” approach is that assets that can’t be repurposed across projects.
Having identified that component-based theming tools are key to next-level efficiencies in website building, our next step was to single out an optimal approach for delivering reusable components. 

Promet’s strategy for achieving this new UI and content management paradigm incorporates the Emulsify® design system, which is a component-driven Drupal theme and gives us a huge lift in building repurposable components. Emulsify functions as both a starter component library with Storybook, which contains the Atomic Design library and is a tool for building user interface components. Storybook can be turned on from within the Emulsify theme, resulting in a highly efficient new workflow.
 
With Provus, components built using JavaScript and CSS are curated int o a library. If the backend implementation changes or we want to move it to another project, the component itself is not changed, allowing us to efficiently redesign and reuse it.

What Sets Provus Apart?

Content editor empowerment, combined with the robust guidance and governance are key factors fueling the success of Provus. More specifically:

  • Self-adjusting features within components create a foundation for both readability and ADA accessibility, by ensuring, for example, adequate contrast between fonts and background colors. 
  • Design governance offers the assurance that content editor empowerment does not translate into mismatched, crowded, or sub-par page designs. Customization options are presented within an expertly calibrated design framework for ensuring the highest quality designs and user experiences on all devices, without breaking layouts or straying from an organization’s brand guidelines. 
  • Content editors are able to seamlessly edit components and change patterns within the view mode, eliminating time-consuming processes of reentering content and switching back and forth between edit and publish modes.

As a thought leader on how humans interact with technology, Promet Source has enthusiastically pursued component-based design systems for their potential to drive high velocity capabilities that drive consistency and collaboration. 

While Provus provides for game-changing advantages on multiple levels, we’re most excited about the amazing new capabilities that we are now able to offer our clients. In blending a formal design system that ensures brand consistency across the site with the flexibility of drag-and-drop site building tools within Drupal core, we are reducing the cost of ownership and empowering clients with a site that’s designed to flex and expand to fit evolving needs and new priorities. 

Interested in learning more about Provus or seeing a demo of Provus in action? Let us know how we can help and we'll be in touch!

                 Stay in-in-the-know with what's new and next for Drupal. Subscribe to the Promet Source newsletter.


 

Jan 05 2021
Jan 05

Even though 2020 came to a close with an overwhelming sense of “good riddance,” the year was not all bad. It was filled with as many surprises as it was filled with opportunities for growth, learning, and many new developments.

The realities of remote work revealed new levels of resilience and flexibility, Drupal 9 was released right on time, and here at Promet Source, we pulled together a lot of collective brainpower to introduce new possibilities for empowering content editors while streamlining web development. 

Our weekly blog posts reflect our commitment to draw upon a depth and breadth of our team’s expertise to convey best practices, new insights, innovations, and thought leadership for the Drupal and web development communities.

Here are Promet's 10 blog posts that grabbed the most attention.  

 

1. Drupal Enabled Drag-and-Drop Content Management, by Chris O’Donnell

Drupal enabled drag and drop blog image

Leading up to the end-of-year launch of Provus, which offers a new approach to designing, developing, and managing Drupal sites with intuitive, no-code, drag-and-drop page-building tools, this post explained the foundations of component-based web design systems and the accompanying leaps forward for efficiency and content editor empowerment. Read Drupal Enabled Drag and Drop Content Management.

 

2. Provus! Drupal Content Editing Reimagined, by Mindy League

Provus Feature Image

Signaling new directions and game-changing possibilities for 2021, this final post of the year sparked a surge of interest in Provus, Promet’s new platform for better content editing in Drupal, and presented insight into the kind of thinking that drove the development of this new platform. Read Provus! Drupal Content Editing Reimagined.
 

3. How to Master Entity Access in Drupal, by Bryan Manalo

How to Master Entity Access banner

The first in a two-part series on Entity Access, this how-to provided an in-depth tutorial on hook entity access, along with a discussion of when and how to use it. Read How to Master Entity Access in Drupal.

4. How to Facilitate an Innovative Remote Meeting, by Mindy League

remote work illustration

Early into the pandemic, as many began looking for new ways to enhance engagement, Promet offered a new approach for breathing new life into remote meetings by applying the techniques of design thinking and human-centered design. Read How to Facilitate an Innovative Remote Meeting.

5. Anticipating Post Pandemic Web Design Trends, by Mindy League 

Post pandemic design trends

As Covid-19 heads for the history books, “normal” stands to look a lot different than how we remembered it. Pointing to design changes that have been sparked by global upheaval in past decades, this post looked at what’s next and cited upcoming trends for web design. Read Anticipating Post Pandemic Web Design Trends.

6. Remote Work Success in a Time of Caution and Quarantine, by Pamela Ross

Promet's Pamela Ross

With a track record of attracting talent from all over the world and effectively collaborating via Zoom, Promet Source entered the pandemic with an edge over companies that were scrambling to adjust to working remotely. This post shared some of Promet’s expertise on the topic with five key strategies for optimizing the remote work opportunities. Read Remote Work Success in a Time of Caution and Quarantine.

7. Drupal 9 Has Dropped! What to Do Now, by Aaron Couch

Drupal 8 to Drupal 9 migration

Despite a global pandemic, Drupal 9 was released on time, as promised, on June 3, 2020. This post covers the key features of Drupal 9 and lays out a strategy for assessing migration readiness. Read Drupal 9 Has Dropped! What to Do Now.

8. Pros and Cons of Five Web Accessibility Tools, by Denise Erazmus 

scales for weighing pros and cons

There are a wide range of available tools designed to support ADA web accessibility compliance, but they vary in the number and types of errors they detect and the degree to which they can help ensure compliance. To help sort through options, this post covers the five most popular tools or extensions, along with the key pros and cons of each. Read Pros and Cons of Five Web Accessibility Tools.

9. Always Be Optimizing for SEO, by Ishmael Fusilero

Optimize for SEO

This post explains why and how organizations need to approach SEO as an ongoing activity, consistently monitoring metrics, along with a strategy to leverage the intelligence hidden within the data. Read Always Be Optimizing for SEO.

10. Drupal 8 Load Testing with Locust, by Josh Estep

Load Testing with Locust

Load-testing is an essential step in the development process. It quantifies the amount of traffic a site can sustain both during development and prior to launch. This post provides a how-to on the use of Locust as an Open Source load testing tool for Drupal 8. Read Drupal 8 Load Testing with Locust

With a diverse talent base, Promet Source is well positioned to share expertise and insights that connect, engage, inform, and spark new ideas. Do you have big plans for your website in 2021? Let us know what we can do to help you achieve your goals!
 

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Dec 15 2020
Dec 15

At Promet Source, our favorite types of questions are “why not?” and “what if?”  This mindset energizes new approaches and possibilities. It’s the perspective that’s fueled a lot of our collective brainpower lately, sparking some big questions such as: 


What if we could leverage the coding and the components that we create for one website, for purposes of building a foundation for vast new efficiencies while making content editing easier and more efficient?

And

How can we simplify content editing, while empowering marketers and content editors to revise and reconfigure their sites as they see fit, without requiring any tech expertise or tinkering with the code?

These are the kinds of questions that have driven the development of Provus

What is Provus?

Provus is Promet’s solution for making the content editing experience better for marketers and site managers.

Promet Source created Provus because we get it -- that within every organization, priorities, perspectives, and products are constantly evolving, and that keeping Drupal sites updated at the same pace is a big challenge for fast-moving marketing teams.

With Provus, marketers and content editors get access to a library of customized, commonly used components -- such as galleries, carousels, maps, lists, blogs, FAQs, quick links, grids, social media assets, and events -- that are designed to be mixed, matched, and rearranged. 

What Sets Provus Apart?

A big differentiator between Provus and other drag-and-drop page-building tools is that marketers and content editors can be assured that they won't "break the site" and any combination of components available within Provus will be ADA accessible, adhere to brand standards, and look great. 

Clients working with Promet benefit from our design team customizing options for their site to ensure that the range of possibilities for reconfiguring the look and layout of a page is within a system of brand and accessibility guidelines. Provus is Open Source and has the inherent benefits of an Open Source product. 

 

Content editors can also count on: 

  • Self-adjusting features that ensure adequate contrast between fonts and background colors for readability and ADA accessibility. 
  • The assurance that brand guidelines stay intact as layouts change. 
  • The ability to easily change patterns within the views, eliminating the need to switch back and forth between edit and publish modes.

Provus bridges the CMS divide that had formerly existed between easy-to-create and manage solutions, such as -- WIX or Squarespace -- and Drupal, which provides a scalable solution for complex, enterprise-level sites.

 

See the difference

This sequence of images demonstrates how a single view can be adjusted without having to delete the existing component, redundantly re-enter content, and start a new layout. Provus enables the content editor to simply select from several alternate views creating a variety of layouts with either manual inline content or pulling in automatic dynamic content from existing Drupal content types such as News or Events.

Screen capture of the Provus Content Editor experienceThe Provus CMS within Drupal allows easy selection from a variety of layouts.Screen Cap of the Provus CMSFeaturing the Card Carousel, the Group Display component provides multiple views of a set of contents.Provus CMS view of a simplified content editing experienceProvus users simply change the layout by selecting a new view within the component without having to reenter content. Multiple view options are available for this commonly used component.Carousel view displayed in the Wysiwyg editor.The newly selected view is then displayed in the Drupal WYSIWYG editor of Layout Builder. The library of components that are part of Provus provides ways to display engaging content that extends beyond basic content pages that are part of Drupal out-of-the-box.

 

What's New & Next

As a thought leader on how humans interact with technology, Promet Source has enthusiastically created Provus and we are excited about the new possibilities that are in store.

Interested in hearing what Provus can do for you, or seeing a demo of Provus in action?

Read more about Provus here and Sign up for a demo!

Dec 05 2020
Dec 05

All of us in the Open Source CMS world are asked, from time to time, variations on the question of: “Which is better, Drupal or WordPress?” 

Of course, there’s not a simple answer to the WordPress vs. Drupal question. Many have a strong bias towards one content management system or the other, but often, staunch opinions on the subject are based on a few cursory facts or outdated information.

Both WordPress and Drupal have evolved a lot since their introductions in the early 2000s. In some ways, this evolution has brought them into closer alignment with each other, evidenced by developments such as the porting of WordPress’s Gutenberg content editor over to Drupal in 2018. In other ways, WordPress and Drupal evolutions have clarified distinctions. 

Generally speaking though, in the current environment, the majority of sites can be supported equally well by either option. 

Fierce Loyalists in Both Camps

That’s not to say that the WordPress vs. Drupal debate doesn’t still spark strong opinions. Both have their devotees. As for me, I go way back with WordPress, and dove into the Drupal world about seven years ago. Promet Source has deep ties to Drupal, and over the past two years, we have broadened our perspectives and talent base to include WordPress advocates and experts. As such, I believe I’m well positioned to objectively cover both. 

Let's start with a few key stats and facts about Drupal and WordPress.

Drupal Advantages: The Internet's Heavy Lifter

A modular CMS written in PHP, Drupal enables developers to leverage a flexible taxonomy system that’s designed to organize complex content types, set highly customizable user permission levels, and ensure web accessibility compliance with enhanced testing and tracking capabilities.

Launched in 2000, Drupal now stands as the third most popular CMS in terms of market share.

Drupal’s enterprise-level trajectory was launched in November of 2015 with the release of Drupal 8, which resulted in a complete architectural overhaul and the creation of an enterprise-level CMS. Subsequent versions, such as the June 2020 release of Drupal 9, are now intended to be incremental, more of a point release than anything resembling the total CMS rewrite that occurred with the upgrade from Drupal 7 to Drupal 8. 

As of February 2020, there were an estimated 1.3 billion websites on the Internet and Drupal accounted for: 

  • Roughly 2 percent of total websites and
  • An estimated 3 percent of the CMS market, with 
  • 560,000 live, active Drupal sites.

                              Drupal Share of CMS Market

Drupal stats for 2020         Source:  Website Builder: 67 Amazing Drupal Statistics,  Jan 2020

For reasons that include core support for multilingual sites, Drupal is often the CMS of choice for government, higher ed, large enterprises, and health care institutions. The NASA site is on Drupal site, as is Portland State University, the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of New York, and Martin County Florida. The White House website was on Drupal during the Obama administration.

Drupal has a diverse and dedicated community of contributors, as evidenced by 42,650 free modules that are available for download. 

WordPress Advantages: A Pervasive Internet Presence

While websites with complex content models and data requirements gravitate towards Drupal, WordPress sites cover a wide spectrum of needs. WordPress accounts for roughly 60 percent of the total CMS market, primarily among small to mid-range sites, but a number of enterprise sites are on WordPress, as well. 

Originally developed as a blogging platform, WordPress has maintained its appeal for non-tech types with a low barrier to entry. While it’s possible to set up a WordPress site without development or coding expertise, experienced developers frequently work within WordPress and leverage their knowledge of HTML, CSS, and PHP to build sizable sites with a greater range of capabilities for business clients. 

Making steady inroads into the enterprise CMS space, WordPress is now the CMS for Time the New Yorker, and BBC America

Beyond the basics, WordPress offers thousands of plug-ins to expand functionality, outranking Drupal for ready-to-go themes that serve to fast-track development without the need for custom development work.

As of February 2020, of the 1.3 billion websites on the Internet. WordPress accounted for: 

  • More than 35 percent of total websites and
  • 61.7 percent of the CMS market, with 
  • 455 million websites currently on WordPress.

For more WordPress stats, check out this recent post in WPCity.

                              WordPress Share of CMS Market

WordPress stats 2020          Source:   Who is Hosting This?: 2020’s Most Surprising WordPress Statistics,  Feb, 2020

One conclusion to be drawn from WordPress’s impressive internet saturation: it’s a CMS that has proven to be the right fit for a wide range of different needs and has gotten many things right, from a wide ranging selection of plugins to an easy-to-use CMS. 
 

Convergence of Features

As more and more Drupal developers realize the advantages within Wordpress, and other user-friendly CMS platforms such as consumer-focused SquareSpace and WIX that offer an easier to use back end, we are seeing new frameworks and features being added to the default editor within Drupal. A multitude of no-code/low-code solutions, such as drag-and-drop functionality or component-based design, are finding their way into Drupal, due to the flexibility of the platform and providing marketers and content editors with greater flexibility and possibilities for making revisions to their sites. 

Core Distinctions

Both Drupal and WordPress offer a depth and breadth of add-ons that extend functionality. These are called “modules” in Drupal, and ”plugins” in WordPress. “Themes” that refer to a site’s aesthetics and user experience, such as design, layout, colors and navigation, is a term that applies to both Drupal and WordPress.

Unlike Drupal’s 2015 architectural realignment with the launch of the enterprise-ready Drupal 8, WordPress has never undergone that same kind of overhaul. The resulting difference is that expanded functionality for WordPress occurs at the theme/plugin layer. Much of Drupal’s functionality, on the other hand, is centralized within the ever-increasing core level, as the most frequently used and widely accepted Drupal modules are continuously incorporated into core. 

WordPress functionality relies heavily upon themes and plugins, and many contend that this represents a strength. WordPress modules tend to be more complete applications, and the vast WordPress collection of themes and plugins provides a high degree of flexibility. 

The flipside of this argument, and key factor that tends to fuel the appeal of Drupal for complex enterprise, higher ed, and government sites, is that there is an inherently a higher level of security and stability associated with working in core. Continued support for themes, plugins, or modules is not always guaranteed in either Drupal or WordPress, and their track record is not necessarily established.

Scalability vs. Complexity

WordPress has proven itself to be extremely scalable and the right fit for some notable sites such as time.com, which I mentioned earlier. The essential distinction which is often missed is not so much size or scalability, but complexity. Even though there are hundreds and hundreds of pages, on time.com, for example, the site consists primarily of articles. When a greater range of content types and complex data models are required, WordPress falls short and Drupal shines.

Acknowledging that both Drupal and WordPress are solid content management systems, and that there’s considerable overlap in the types of sites for which either would provide an excellent solution, Promet recently developed the following matrix in an effort to highlight the relative strengths of both options and open a dialog among our teams.

Here’s what we came up with relative to 10 key criteria.

                    Open Source CMS Comparison

Drupal vs WordPress  Open Source CMS Comparison

  1. Open Source. Yes. Both Drupal and WordPress are solid Open Source solutions with great track records. 
  2. Lamp Stack (PHP). Yes. Both use Lamp Stack PHP equally. Five stars for both.
  3. Enterprise Ready. Drupal: Yes. That’s where this CMS shines. WordPress: Yes and No. It’s applicable for some, not all, enterprise applications. 
  4. Dedicated Hosting Partners. Yes. Both Drupal and WordPress have dedicated hosting partners, allowing for proactive maintenance, as well as heightened security, speed, and reliability. 
  5. Available/Accessible to Novices. No for Drupal. Developing a Drupal site and understanding how to work within the Drupal interface requires distinct expertise and training. Yes for WordPress. A non-technical hobbyist or small business owner with a touch of know-how can find a theme that fits their needs and figure out how to build and manage a WordPress site, often within a few hours.
  6. Appropriate for a Brochure Site. No for Drupal. While it’s possible to create a straightforward brochure site on Drupal, there’s not much point in doing so when other, simpler options are available. Yes for WordPress. WordPress is ideal for a brochure and blog site. That’s what it was originally developed for. 
  7. Has a Complex Content Model. Yes for Drupal. Complex taxonomy content models are where Drupal thrives. Not so much for WordPress, which best serves sites that don’t require the organization of high levels of complexity. 
  8. Works for a Tight Budget. (under $10,000). No for Drupal. The flipside of Drupal’s ability to navigate complexity tends to be the requirement of considerable developer legwork and ramping up. Yes for WordPress. WordPress offers a greater range of out-of-the box solutions and, depending on requirements, it’s quite possible to build a respectable Drupal site for under $10,000. 
  9. Design Theme Availability. Drupal: Somewhat. Drupal has a limited number of design themes that are ready out of the box. Promet has created a Drupal theme as part its upcoming launch of a component-based, drag-and-drop capability for Drupal. WordPress: Yes. WordPress has an extensive and robust design theme capability
  10. Community. Drupal: Absolutely. Drupal has a great professional community of dedicated developers, who regularly gather for training and information exchange (now virtually) at events, camps, and meetups all over the world. This is less the case for WordPress. While there are many professional WordPress developers, the WordPress community is more diverse and less cohesive. 

 

Tracking the Evolution

Among those of us whose history in the CMS trenches dates back many years, it’s been very interesting to witness the evolutions of both Drupal and WordPress. At one time, Drupal and WordPress accounted for the vast majority of the open source CMS world. Together, they still account for a whopping 65 percent of the CMS market, but newcomers such as Wix and Squarespace are gaining ground among their respective niches, and GoDaddy has also just introduced a drag-and-drop CMS. At the same time, multiple closed-source website creations options have emerged that weren’t around as recently as a few years ago. 

To an increasing degree, Drupal and WordPress are viewed less as competitors, and more so as members of the same family.

One big indicator of this trend: in May of 2020, Drupaldelphia, the annual camp held in Philadelphia for Drupal developers, site-builders, content administrators, and designers, was renamed CMS Philly. The event was largely dominated largely by Drupal and WordPress. 

High Stakes Solutions  

When the stakes are high (and when are they not), selecting the right CMS calls for careful consideration and expert analysis. The Drupal vs. WordPress conversation does not lend itself toward across-the-board rules or easy answers.

That said, the judgment and expertise of anyone who suggests that Drupal is always the answer or that WordPress is always the answer should be considered highly suspect. As the saying goes: “When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.”

WordPress and Drupal each have a definite place at their respective ends of the spectrum, with hobbyist or small business sites on one end and complex, enterprise-level digital experiences at the other. The vast middle ground between these two ends can be highly nuanced with no easy answers, but there’s a likelihood that either Drupal or WordPress would work equally well.

The main thing is the assurance that true experts with a depth of perspective and commitment to client success are doing the work. 
Interested in an expert analysis of the CMS that stands to represent the right fit for your organization’s distinct objectives? At Promet Source, we have all the right people to help with that. Contact us today. 

Source for Drupal Stats:

https://websitebuilder.org/drupal-statistics

Source for WordPress Stats:

https://www.whoishostingthis.com/compare/wordpress/stats/

About Drupal Sun

Drupal Sun is an Evolving Web project. It allows you to:

  • Do full-text search on all the articles in Drupal Planet (thanks to Apache Solr)
  • Facet based on tags, author, or feed
  • Flip through articles quickly (with j/k or arrow keys) to find what you're interested in
  • View the entire article text inline, or in the context of the site where it was created

See the blog post at Evolving Web

Evolving Web