Level Playing Field Institute
Corporate Leavers Web Site
The Level Playing Field Institute exists to address problems of workplace discrimination for both workers and employers. Corporate Leavers is a dynamic website that seeks to present information about how workplace discrimination leads workers to leave jobs at great costs to their companies and the economy. The site combines real biographies from minority workers, integrates rich content, and provides interactive features to illustrate the Level Playing Field Institute’s work in this area.
The Level Playing Field Institute came to Trellon to build the technology that powers the Corporate Leavers website. They needed the back-end technology to power a website with dynamic biographical content provided by certain correspondents of the Institute, integrate with Flash content, and provide a number of interactive features so that users can communicate with the site editors and other users.
Challenge and Approach
One of the greatest challenges of building simple websites powered by Drupal is building sites that aren’t too complex. Because Drupal has a remarkable amount of power and flexibility it can be easy to attempt to do too much with the software, which can obscure the simple and powerful message of a site like Corporate Leavers. Furthermore, the Level Playing Field Institute wanted to integrate the site with Flash-based content and content from a independent blog to create a rich and dynamic experience for all of the website’s visitors.
Trellon approached this project like any other: we sought a firm understanding of the Level Playing Field institutes so that we could take our familiarity with the Drupal platform and end up with a magnificent site. The end result is a simple and well integrated website, that provides dynamic content, integrates with Flash elements, and makes the desired interactive features available to the Level Playing Field Institute and the users of the Corporate Leavers site.
Rather than recreate the wheel and deploy another social networking site–and possibly distract from the larger argument for the site–Corporate Leavers doesn’t require (or offer) user accounts to the general public. Instead, users are offered accounts by the Level Playing Field Institute to create and edit profiles which tell their stories of workplace discrimination. Site administrators then use these profiles to provide the case studies and scenarios on the site that visitors to the site can comment on. This feature streamlines the work flow of site administrators and provides unique and engaging content for the Corporate Leavers site.
The Level Playing Field Institute wanted a rich interactive experience that could only be achieved using Flash. Integrating with flash can be difficult because unlike most of the content that Drupal typically deals with, it’s data isn’t conventional text-based files. Trellon was able to coordinate the development of the Drupal back-end with the third party that developed the flash so that all portions of the site could integrate well and provide a rich and functional user and administrative experience.
External Content Integration
Among other functions, Corporate Leavers was a tie in with a book by Freda Kapor Klein called Giving Notice, which explores similar themes. However, the book had it’s own website complete with a blog that kept readers and other interested parties up to date with news and content specifically related to the book. The Level Playing Field Institute felt that this content was important to visitors of corporate leavers, but saw no need to recreate this content stream and we developed a way to automatically import this content so that the administrators and editors only had to worry about one blog, but got the benefit of integrating this content into the new site.
Throughout the site there are pages and situations that invite users to give feedback and opinions on various scenarios presented by the website. Trellon built out key functionality to support this interactive feature into the appropriate pages on the site. These opportunities allow users to participate in the site, rather than simply absorb information as presented.
Though the site isn’t intended to be a conventional social networking site, by encouraging interaction with the content of the site draw the users in and focus them on the challenges and experiences of the specific users. Without recreating the social networking wheel, Corporate Leavers is nevertheless able to promote a similar level of user involvement.
The site also includes an “e-postcard” feature that allows employees, co-workers, and employers to communicate anonymously (if necessary) about issues related to workplace discrimination. Again this draws the users into the site and encourages users to examine the challenges that they have in their own lives; but more importantly this feature provides a service to users that they can use to effect change in their own lives.