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Drupal Version Upgrade Improves Web Design and Accessibility

The Christian Reformed Church of North America (CRCNA) has been a longtime client and a Drupal CMS user for many years. Over those years, they have built a massive website with hundreds of pages, news articles, resources, and even subsites. We knew that upgrading a website of this scale from Drupal 7 to Drupal 8 would be a large undertaking, but Rapid Development Group felt prepared to step up to the challenge. 


Front-end Development
Back-end Development

Drupal 8

Project Brief

CRCNA has been a client of RDG's for many years. We had built their previous website in Drupal 7, and in 2019 they returned to start the conversation about upgrading once again to Drupal 8. Along with the upgrade to Drupal 8, the CRCNA also wanted a minor design refresh to keep up with ever-changing web and design trends. The primary goals of this project were:

  1. Upgrade from Drupal 7 to Drupal 8 and migrate existing articles to the new website
  2. Give the website a fresh new design without straying from their established brand
  3. Improve web accessibility of the content and structure to comply with ADA guidelines

We were able to achieve these goals while leaving the information architecture and content structure largely unchanged. Because they have many frequent users, CRCNA wanted to minimize the transition that their users would experience once the new website launched.

CRCNA Homepage

What We Did

We started by mapping out the existing functionality and content to determine what could be migrated and what would need to be recreated from scratch. In the end, we decided that sections with a lot of content (like news articles) would be migrated, and the remaining pages would be created manually. This allowed us to build a more robust landing page creation system using custom-branded "building blocks" to allow for more content variety and stylistic creativity. When we handed over the keys to allow CRCNA to start building their webpages, we stood by to offer assistance and make improvements until they were happy with the end result.


Drupal 7 will reach end of life in 2021


Upgrade to Drupal 8

CRCNA was quick to react to the news of Drupal 7 reaching end of life in November 2021. The upgrade path from Drupal 8 to 9 is relatively simple, so we also wanted to ensure that CRCNA would be ready for an easy transition to Drupal 9, which released in 2020. We strategized an upgrade path based on the functionality that they were utilizing and their web content. Many of their hundreds of webpages were able to be migrated automatically, but manual content creation was also necessary.

Website started to feel out of date


Custom responsive theme with a fresh new look

We created a custom, mobile-responsive Drupal 8 theme modernized for today's web. The design was largely inspired by the CRCNA's use of color in their marketing materials. We used the primary red color from the logo throughout the major landmark regions and used a series of 5 additional accent colors for other interactive elements. The theme was also built for page customization, with templates for full width landing pages, subpages with or without sidebars, and more.

Unique subsites

The CRCNA has many properties that operate under the CRCNA umbrella, each with its own sub-brand. In order to accommodate these unique sections, we developed a system for creating "subsites" within the larger website.

We created an ADA-compliant color palette based on the CRCNA brand standards from which subsites can select their primary and secondary website colors. This allows subsites to differentiate their brand while still remaining an obvious part of the overall CRCNA brand family. In addition, subsites have a separate menu with subpages, custom logo and tagline, and a footer band containing that property's unique contact information.

CRCNA Ministry Shares subsite
CRCNA Synod subsite

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