FiscoOggi

We modernized and made universally available an historic name of the Italian financial publishing scene.

The challenge

More than 10 million users and over 22 million accesses, 40 million page views in the last 3 years, approximately 28000 newsletter subscribers and a trend of constant growth: in 2018 alone almost 4 million users and 14 million page views. Those are the numbers FiscoOggi introduces itself with, as the most influential and long-running Italian online publisher in the financial field that offers accurate and punctual information, directly curated by the Italian Revenue Agency.

Able to count on an editorial staff of 12 executives and almost 600 authors, the contents published on the magazine are over 5000 a year, giving to us in SparkFabrik a double challenge: migrate the current website on a new and advanced platform and simplify the work of the editorial staff in producing and publishing contents, working on the user experience on the editorial side.

Contextually, the goal of coping with an always increasing use of the website from mobile devices (+24% in the last year) required special care for a clear and hierarchical presentation of the contents.

Project
Website redesign
Services
Information Architecture, Design, UX / UI, Drupal
Release
February 2019
The challenge

Design and user experience

Heard the customer’s requests emerged during the public tender offer, our design offer comprehended an in depth analysis of the main online editorial players’ platforms, and a punctual application of the best practices in the user experience and accessibility field.
fiscooggi laptop
Dealing with an essentially content-focused website, the consumer’s usability has been a priority during the design of interface and interactions. As a start we increased the dimension of the titles as compared to the text of the body and enhanced the chromatic contrast with the background to advance a better visual hierarchy of the contents.
In this phase we underwent a substantial decluttering of the graphic interface, giving space to the contents without sacrificing their assets and endorsing a geometrical an harmonious representation.
fiscooggi article
The choice in fonts fell on a trio of sans-serif characters: Montserrat for the titles, Open Sans for the body and Titillium Web for the interactive elements. All three are widely used fonts, with a marked legibility and doted of a wide range of weights that allowed us to brilliantly adapt them to any situation.

The solution

The ideal candidate for the modernization of the platform was without any doubt Drupal 8, modern framework, modular and enterprise-grade, also a continuity choice as the successor of the platform at the base of the previous application Pressflow (Drupal 6), now obsolete.

The migration to this version represented an enhancement of the user experience on the editorial side, allowing to cast off an outdated and intricate workflow, favouring one that is in line with the latest web technologies. The flexibility of the customizable editorial flows offered by Drupal 8 made it possible to fully satisfy the editorial staff’s needs. The editing and content creation pages have been customized, gathering semantically the elements in tabs (field groups) and adding comments and notes to guide the editors in their daily work.
fiscooggi laptop
The new and updated APIs of Drupal 8 made possible the contents migration directly from Drupal 6, allowing the optimization of data structures, helped by a new typification of the entities: files, images, videos and audios have been remapped in media type, and we rationalised the architecture of the already existing content types. The migration involved a total of over 42000 contents, 35000 images and 2700 multimedial contents including video, audio and pictures, and the composition of various destination and process plugins.

A feature of the previous website, found primary by the editorial staff, was a contents ranking system that showed the most viewed article of the day, recently and overall. The system was based on a contrib module (Radioactivity) that wasn’t compatible with Drupal 8 in the early stages of the project. Our efforts went, then, into developing a new version of that module that would be compatible with our website and into migrating the ranking values of all the existing contents.
The architectural optimizations introduced with the migration allowed us to manage the images as “media entity”, making it possible to create a centralized “repository” that makes the retrieve and reuse of it easier (with the use of contrib modules such as “Entity media browser” and “Entity embed”) with a shared pattern in all operations involving pictures and images.
fiscooggi laptop
The integration with the audio and video streaming server Wowza has been improved and implemented in HTML5, adding the support to modern streaming protocols, MPEG-DASH, HLS (HTTP Live Streaming), still keeping an Adobe Flash fallback for older browsers.

In front-end we choose to keep a Drupal native approach that allowed, thanks to the versatility of Twig, Drupal 8’s template engine, to easily assimilate the mobile-first responsive framework Zurb Foundation, modular and simply customizable as well as adherent to the accessibility standards. The images have been optimized for the various resolutions with the use of the Picture tag and a number of presets specifically designed to offer the best user experience in any resolution, on both retina and non-retina devices, without slowing the page loading.

Our research kept the original integration with Apache Soir, giving a relevance boost to the most recent contents: the arrow “navigation” that lets the user to filter rapidly and intuitively the contents, semantically and by type, has been extended to all the contents of the media section as well.
Double columns

Results

A first evident result is on the User Experience side. From the in depth analysis made about the structure of the old website we could significantly shorten the user’s path to access the contents.

To give some examples:

  • The research inside the website has been contralized, allowing a more immediate use. The results of the research have been optimized and considered following the critical parameters for an editorial recommendation.
  • The access to the multimedial contents (audio, video and gallery) has been just as well unified in a single interface, coherent both in graphic interface and in use patterns, making the user experience uniform. Contextually, we went from a legacy mode to a modern HTML5 streaming in line with today’s standards.
  • The access to the Country Profiles (containing a summary of the country’s fiscal system) is simplified, developing ex-novo a new User Interaction. The user can now access the contents in a faster and more precise way, skipping superfluous intermediate passages.
  • The interaction with the fiscal calendar has been reviewed, leading to a redesign that allowed us to make easier and more clear to the user the access at the closest deadlines, going from a calendar-like interface to a planner-like one.

The second great achievement is without doubts the migration of a huge number of structural contents from a legacy platform like Drupal 6 to a modern the modern Drupal 8.

Assimilating an in depth analysis of the previous data structure with our knowledge of Drupal 8’s potential we could not just make available all the contents of the old platform, but to present and structure them in a modern and future-proof way.

Conclusions

Our in depth preliminary analysis, together with constant and precise feedback from a competent customer, allowed us to face the challenging premises of this project with well-defined and resolute choices, presenting a modern platform, easier to use for both editors and users.

Alessandro Bonelli

ICT Projects Supervisor, Italian Revenue Agency

We relied on one of the leading companies in the Italian Drupal development market, in particular in the last release 8.x that shows big differences with the past. We couldn’t have made a better choice, since they could solve major problems such as the unavailability of ready to use modules without weighting on our expectations.

The skills to realize in addition to just customize has been resolutive in the overcoming many “pit stops” surfaced along the way. The Agile work methodology also allowed us to reassess at the end of each sprint, with the maximum satisfaction of the internal stakeholders. The team has also been an asset to resolve important problems in the management of the hosting architecture and in the streaming of self-made videos, not trivial challenge, in addition of being able to guide us through important and difficult choices.

The product turns out to have extremely high performance, to be rich in user experience thanks to engaging client side components like dynamic maps to access the Country Profiles, cutting edge when compared to other similar products.