Festival of Creative Learning website
The Festival of Creative Learning (formerly known as Innovative Learning Week) was established in 2014. We were commissioned to provide a website that would display details of scheduled events and allow prospective attendees to find and book places on events.
There were 125 events scheduled to take place between 18-22 February 2019, with approximately 1712 people attendees.
The visual aspect of the site is very important and has evolved over the last four years. The existing website look and feel needed revamped to work more consistently with modern devices and browsers.
Institute for Academic Development, FCL project management:
• Jennifer Williams
• Theodora Sakellaridou
The Institute for Academic Development required improvements and additional functionality for the Festival of Creative Learning website.
The main component of the website was the integration of the festival events and the ability to easily find and book on these events through the website.
The website also needed to incorporate and support integrations of a WordPress blog, Flickr gallery images, and Media Hopper video content.
Bringing in events from an external web service
The majority of the events are scheduled in the University events booking system. This allows the client to delegate responsibility for creating and managing events to a number of administrators across different Schools and Colleges. These scheduled events are then available as an XML structured data feed that needs to be consumed by the website and turned into event web pages.
The event details would change in the events booking system and these changes needed to be reflected in the website, for example the number of available places, if the event is full and if prospective attendees could book on a waiting list. For this reason, the data needed to be imported every 5 minutes.
Solution: We used the Drupal feeds and tamper module to pull in the event data in XML format and we used XPATH expressions to extract the relevant data and populate the Drupal content event content type fields. We also used Drupal rules to change the booking availability details based on available places and last booking date details.
Calendar and faceted search facility
The user can filter their search on event type and who the event is available to. They can also search the calendar feature and filter on specific months and days.
Solution: We used the Views calendar and exposed filters to provide the calendar widget and filtering on audience and event type. We also used the taxonomy module to allow the filtering of event types and we used the search API and search facets to provide the events search and faceted filtering.
Incorporating third party content
In a similar way to the events integration, the FCL blog and image gallery sections of the site are built by consuming data from external sources, such as WordPress, Flickr, and Media Hopper.
This site is unique in that almost all of the content is external and is consumed and displayed dynamically.
Solution: Again, we used the Drupal feeds and tamper module to consume the WordPress XML data and XPATH to select the relevant fields for populating the Drupal blog content type fields. For the Gallery page, we integrated Flickr content using and configuring the Flickr module. Media Hopper videos are embedded using iframe content.
We also successfully delivered integrations with Padlet and Storify. Storify ceased to exist and so the FCL team decided to replace this with a WordPress blog. We provided a ‘Community’ page which included a Padlet that FCL participants could contribute to directly from within the FCL website. This was removed from the site due to a lack of interaction from the users.
Look and feel
The project owners were very keen to have a forward looking and dynamic look and feel for this website so that it was appealing and attractive to a wider audience. They commissioned an external designer to do the graphic design work and we were supplied with the Photoshop visuals and we were tasked implementing the designs across devices and screen sizes.
Solution: This was accomplished primarily with the use of CSS along with Drupal modules, views, displays and panels.
Outcomes and benefits
The website has successfully allowed 1712 event attendees to discover events that they may be interested in attending and successfully book a place if available.
The integrations with the WP blog and the Flickr galleries have allowed the website owners as well as event attendees to share experiences in written and visual formats.
From our perspective, we have gained considerable experience in implementing a complex visual identity and experience in handling complex data structures from external sources and turning them into usable content.