The Life Writer was established by Marc and Teri in 2007 as a combined effort to write a life story about Teri’s then 90-year old father, George. The Life Writer software application was later developed to automate the writing process as well as to make the services easy, affordable, and available to more clients. Since its inception in 2007, this Durham, North Carolina based organization - The Life Writer, has helped to create many life story memoirs to different clients worldwide.
As a life story writing application, The Life Writer software application is expected to uphold a significant degree of accuracy, speed, and authenticity in recording life story memoirs. Because of those vital elements, The Life Writer has opted to partner with Vardot to revamp their web application using Drupal 8 CMS, Varbase. Vardot played a principal and prominent role in achieving those goals, and to giving an assurance of security and confidentiality to the sensitive information submitted to the application by company clients.
The Life Writer Web Application Goals
The Life Writer sought to make improvements to the existing application in an effort to meet current market web trends and to fit within the web development standards. The primary improvements included:
To have a responsive website that would be easily accessible and optimized to function on different devices like mobile phones and tablets.
To incorporate automatic speech-to-text transcription functionality that would allow the users to write their life story memoirs seamlessly.
To integrate customer support systems and marketing automation services that would increase user satisfaction, attract prospective clients, and increase sales.
To have a robust and secure e-commerce system for subscription management and ease of online transaction processing.
To have a fully flexible and scalable website. One that would allow for the addition of other follow-on functional features without interfering with core functionality.
Why Drupal was Chosen:
Drupal has emerged as a popular open-source CMS that is powerful enough to handle comprehensive pieces of content. Vardot concluded that Drupal 8 would perfectly meet The Life Writer needs of storing and handling an enormous number of life story memoirs that are released by users using the application. Also, Drupal as a popular open-source platform, is backed up by an extensive community of developers who work to ensure the security, and stability of the platform CMS.
The modular layout of Drupal 8 and its ability to utilize multimedia content was a major factor in shaping the new outlook of The Life Writer website’s anticipated development goals.
Project Goals, Requirements, and Outcome
The newly designed and developed The Life Writer application attained the following seven objectives, in line with the organization’s goals:
Market to a Wider Audience
One of the main objectives of The Life Writer application was to make the life story writing service available to a much larger number of wider audience, ranging from experienced tech-users to users that are not tech-savvy.
Allow Collaboration Among Users
The new website allows users to invite other additional users to assist in the life story writing process. That important capability allows for family members and friends to collaborate on the life writing, which enhances the overall process and final result. The process of reviewing of produced books and could enhance the quality of production.
Automatic speech-to-text transcription enables the user’s words to be transcribed into text automatically, which drastically reduces the amount of typing required to create a life story memoir. The feature makes the life writing process faster, easier, and with much greater accessibility. Automatic speech-to-text was brought into being for the first time ever, through the use of a Drupal plugin named Speak2Type.
Convenient eCommerce Transaction
Vardot’s integration of Drupal Commerce for The Life Writer application has made the process of selling online life story writing licenses effortless, secure, and precise.
The new website incorporated Bootstrap into the Drupal design so that the website would be operational and flexible across many different devices - including mobile phones and tablets. Additional customization by Vardot has ensured that The Life Writer application pages load quickly and appear the same across different browsers.
Seamless Book Creation Experience
With an optimized and responsive design, the new web application is easier to use, takes a shorter time to load, and is filled with multimedia controls that are intuitive and enjoyable to use. It also enables the reviewing and editing of life story content while the user is writing, to ensure a high quality creation and delivery of the final life story memoir book.
Flexibility and Scalability
The new website allows for the addition of future follow-on features without affecting current core functionality. It also incorporates improved -caching capability and a configurable efficient access database as an input from the Vardot custom architecture.
Thanks to the security standards of Drupal 8, and the added security modules of Varbase, The Life Writer users and content are now more secure.
Thanks to the success of Vardot in migrating The Life Writer website to Drupal 8, the new website now looks more appealing and performs better than its predecessor. It has also significantly reduced the time duration to load pages. The Life Writer application is now optimized to be used easily with mobile phones and tablets. The addition of automatic speech-to-text transcription has made the entire life story writing process easier, faster, and friendlier. Also, the application's ability to allow selected third-party collaborators to offer additional input, edit, and review a life story book in progress will enhance the overall quality of the life story writing process and end result. The upgrade of The Life Writer website to Drupal 8 has brought about many key performance and usability improvements that are likely to boost the overall performance, reliability, ease of use, and popularity of the application in the marketplace.