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Mark Llobrera

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In October WHYY unveiled their new website, which Bluecadet helped them design and develop. It brought their news wing (formerly under the unified banner of WHYY, an effort that required a lot of up-front strategy about how to serve multiple audiences.

I recently appeared on episode 149 of the Responsive Web Design Podcast, hosted by Karen McGrane and Ethan Marcotte. Together with my old friend (and former Bluecadet team member) Rebecca Smith, we talked about the project—how it came about, some of the challenges we faced, and why migrations are such a pain.

Here are a few more notes I’ve been sitting on since the launch:

You know, there’s a running joke that the first thing you should start working on the minute you have a contract or you’re even thinking about doing any kind of CMS replatforming is, “Well, you should start the migration immediately.” Then once you’ve immediately started the migration, you should accept that you’ve probably started it too late, just because the process of actually taking a close and detailed look at all of the stuff you’re moving into a new system or even just moving into a new design, and assessing how well it fits, where the rough edges are—that’s a process that it’s always easy to underestimate.

I wouldn’t say that we were unaware of how big the migration task would be—but it was definitely a challenge importing content while we were still working out the kinks on our content types. Migrating into WordPress can be challenging, too, if you’re trying to map to custom post types. For what it’s worth, I think Drupal has a much more robust way of dealing with migrations. (Drupal has other issues, but that’s another post.)

WHYY had always taken a multi-phase product-style approach for their site revamp. So I’m very excited to see where they take things next, now that they’re finally on a unified platform built around their publishing needs.