Since their first broadcast in 1954, Seattle’s KCTS 9 station has been supplying the Washington and British Columbia areas with uplifting television for more than half a century. What began as a broadcast for classroom instructional programs has changed over time into the Northwest region’s PBS member station. In addition to television broadcasts, KCTS 9’s website has been used as a resource for local art, recipes, and news. In 2015, they embarked on an ambitious initiative towards a digital-first strategy for content development.
Bear Group’s engagement began small - working on improvements to their donation pages. Like all public television, a large portion of the station’s funding comes from viewer donations. So in early 2014, improving it became a top priority.
To manage donations, they were using a Drupal module that had to pass donation information between three KCTS 9 systems: their non-profit management tool (Round Cause), their CRM (Salesforce), and their accounting software (Sage). When KCTS 9 approached us about the project, they were looking for a team that could accelerate the module’s development and get their donation form working the way it should.
Our experience building custom payment gateways helped us navigate the complexities of the module’s design. After two weeks of full-time development, we were able to untangle and rebuild the donation module and get a working form live on the KCTS 9 website. Every time a viewer submits a donation, their transaction and contact information is seamlessly routed through the station’s third-party systems.
We extended to a slightly larger engagement to help to build a microsite for a new television program about to launch called In Close. Instead of building a one-off page, we used Drupal 7 to build them a “program builder” website. With it, their content team manages the landing pages for each of their programs, all from a single, user-friendly interface.
Working with KCTS 9, we’ve been able not only to help their development team get traction on high-priority projects, but also to help them think through new ways of leveraging the power of their website.
Our latest work with KCTS has been the largest project completed to date. KCTS 9 embarked on an ambitious redesign for their website in part to support a new strategic “digital first” initiative. The project continues to use Drupal for the core publishing system, but has had a complete functional and design change.
As a stepping stone to this redesign, we needed to migrate the existing website from Drupal 6 to the Drupal 7 platform. We used the Drupal Migrate API, and custom scripts to move content from the old Drupal 6 system programmatically into a fresh Drupal 7 installation.
The second stage in the project was a complete website redesign. KCTS engaged with FellSwoop to improve the UX and overall site design. We worked closely on technical specs with KCTS 9’s web design team. The result is a new focus on program content, a great new TV schedule lookup, new navigation, and general site organization. Much of the content is the same, however it has been cleaned up and brought forward to a new, professional and consistent design.