XO Communications Moves to Drupal: Improves Mobile User Experience and Sets the Stage for Web Personalization
XO Communications, a USD 1.59 billion telecommunications service provider in the USA required an overhaul in their current website. Bluetext, XO’s branding consultant recommended a responsive and modern website to take on its competition. Zyxware Technologies designed, developed, and deployed the architecture for XO’s website such that it aligns to retain and expand its client base. The result was a corporate website offering a great user experience, which was scalable and modular enough to launch the next level of content personalization using the Acquia Lift personalization.
XO Communications is a telecommunications company owned by XO Holdings, Inc providing enterprise class service provider in cloud based internet & networking solutions. Though it operates in a hyper connected environment, its website was dated in appearance, in content layout & presentation and in Social Media engagement thus diminishing their sophisticated technology brand. Their competitors had advanced responsive websites which could convey the capability and value proposition offered, attracting some of their long time customers. XO Communications felt it imperative to redesign their website to incorporate the state of the art web technologies for enhanced user experience, to attract new customers and retain existing ones. Bluetext was consulted in this context for conceptualizing a web solution to rebuild and strengthen the XO brand.
Established in 2011, Bluetext is one of USA’s fastest growing consulting firms in the areas of digital marketing, branding and strategic communications. Bluetext’s comprehensive services are availed by a clientele ranging from global industry leaders to emerging companies at the forefront of innovation and technology, which includes Google, McAfee, JLL, Adobe, Unisys, Magellan Federal, Dell and Intel.
The Solution Engagement
Bluetext, leveraging on their immense experience decided that the best approach to recapture and retain customers is to move forward with the Web Personalization Strategy. The process would begin with building a Drupal website, implementing a new responsive user interface built using a custom Drupal theme and later integrating Drupal’s web personalization tool Acquia Lift along with social media integration in order to provide tailored user experience and priceless behaviour data. Zyxware Technologies was roped in to make this in reality after taking into consideration our in-depth experience in building Drupal-based web applications.
How we did it on Drupal?
After discussions with the Bluetext team, we recommended starting with Drupal 8 as it would be a long-term and stable platform that could provide the best content management system. Although the initial effort would be higher the effort would be offset by the long-term prospects of Drupal 8 which would be available for years to come.
Taking into account the fact that content team of XO communications would be migrating the data to the new website as soon as development began and judging the availability of the Drupal modules and considering the designs supplied by XO, we first proceeded to chart out a suitable content architecture that would align with the above criteria.
The Drupal 8 powered, new XO website provides users with a refreshing new experience. tailored specifically to the device used. It features a responsive design, an eye catchy color scheme with a prominent ‘Megamenu’ on desktop and a user friendly ‘Hamburger’ menu on smart devices making it easier and compelling to navigate and explore the products and services. A custom Drupal theme projecting the brand in a clutter-free design was created using advanced SUSY and SASS framework to faster development and reduce cost. The complete code deployment method was used following stringent deployment standards to reduce manual intervention and create a high-quality production site.
Being the primary marketing and information portal of XO Communications, its users are able identify solutions matching their requirements easily through proper categories and short briefs displayed in the megamenu. The integrated blog brings to users expert views on various network and security topics gluing them to the site, delivering value addition while projecting expertise.
Strategically positioned call to action buttons enables potential customers to make contact with the sales team of XO Communications without bouncing off to competitor websites, thus making the website an important marketing channel of the company. To identify marketing funnels we also integrated the Oracle Eloqua platform with the site. This enabled tracking of users who come to the site via targeted content by embedding Eloqua forms within certain paragraphs to capture the relevant user info.
The feature-rich search function provides users with dynamic filters, text highlighting related to the keywords along image previews for a richer search experience to ensure they don’t miss what they look out for from the site. After considering alternatives we proceeded to implement search using the Drupal Search API. This provides scalability as the search engine can be changed later on with minimal configuration to migrate to popular search frameworks like Solr Search or Acquia search when the search ambit widens.
The portal also allows easy access to the numerous resources in the repository including case studies, webinars and informative videos. For this it offers unmatched authoring experience where the site administrators could add content and decide its layout too without HTML knowledge and without bothering about the look and feel. We utilized ‘Paragraph’ architecture to give this extra usability to content creators. The inbuilt dynamic resource filter allows easy filtering of the different types of content on the site. The site was designed to act as gateway to the support portal for the customers of XO without the different services offered by XO Communications allowing for easy access to the relevant resources.
On the admin side, the webmaster can utilize the full power of the Drupal CMS in managing the different types of content and user profiles with ease. The paragraph architecture allows the admins to create and manage the content and content architecture with negligible effort from the technical team or HTML developers allowing them to add new resources, manage news feeds and coordinate the users and authors having access to the site.
For Zyxware, xo.com was an interesting challenge. Being part of a transformation and positively impacting a business added another feather to our expertise. As a bonus we could contribute the custom created Drupal 8 ‘ZTMegamenu’ module for the benefit of the drupal community at https://www.drupal.org/project/zt_megamenu
Conclusion and Future Prospects
The move to Drupal 8 is targeted to bring in immense benefits to XO Communications in terms of a responsive website based on the solid and secure Drupal 8 platform. The move also enabled XO communications to getting started on web personalization.