NARA Ronald Reagan Presidential Library & Museum Update & Design

A Digital Agency With an Eye for Impressive Design

A preferred Partner of Inclind, ThreeSpot is a creative agency with a unique mindset. They have been in business since 1999 and, along the way, found something out about themselves. Threespot values are doing a high level of work that matters more than awards, accolades, or cold hard cash. From that day forward, they have chosen a path few agencies take, using their time and talents to make a difference: All-day, every day.

LOCATION: Simi Valley, California (34.2694° N, 118.7815° W)

The Challenge:

Administered by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), The Reagan Library is the repository for millions of presidential records and personal papers from President Ronald Reagan’s administration. NARA’s Strategic Goals include connecting more effectively with its customers. Still, the Library’s website was both onerous to maintain by staff, and poorly met audience needs for research, education, and visit planning, among other goals. Data spanned different platforms, came in various formats, including thousands of pdfs, docx files, and data stored in Microsoft Access databases, and was varied in content from photo contact sheets and references to historical guides on Reagan Administration personnel topic guides, personal papers, and collections.

Threespot, an interactive, creative agency, and Inclind joined forces to redesign and redevelop the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library & Museum with the goal of connecting audiences to the Reagan Presidency and its role in American History and empowering researchers to search, browse, and discover relevant and related content.

Our Solution:

The Drupal 8 CMS was chosen to provide content editors with the best experience in updating content. The Reagan Library website needed a robust platform to facilitate a very complicated data structure. The previous website was on Drupal so the organizations involved were already familiar with the capabilities. Another benefit is that Drupal 8 is built on modern architecture with a focus on future releases, which allows the site to exist with minor transitions in the future.

Goals Accomplished

- Created a visually rich design system based on U.S. Web Design System (USWDS)

- Improved search experience by utilizing Drupal 8 search technology coupled with Elasticsearch

- Utilized a two-step process (PDF to DOCX and DOCX to HTML) for PDF conversions to web-based versions that preserve formatting and consistency

- Defined a pattern library of reusable components using Atomic Design System’s atoms, molecules and organisms

- Used Pattern Lab’s rapid prototyping to enable feedback early and often in the process before the design system was applied to the CMS

The Result:

reagan-launch

All of the various data formats were migrated into Drupal. Thousands of PDF files were converted into editable nodes and indexed. This makes the data more searchable and accessible for researchers and more manageable for website administrators. The result is a site that provides users straightforward access to content and educational resources alongside an easy-to-use administrative interface for Library staff.

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