Oxfam International

Oxfam International screenshot

Oxfam International is a confederation of seventeen organisations working together with partners and local communities in more than ninety countries. It is a charity whose intentions are to find solutions to poverty and injustice around the world.

Their ultimate goal is to promote human rights and enable people to manage their own lives. To achieve this the charity works directly with communities and seeks to influence governments and key decision makers, to ensure that poor people can improve their lives and have a say in decisions that affect them.

Our challenge

Oxfam International needed to migrate the data from their existing site to a new platform as part of a brand relaunch. Agile Collective were brought in to work with the main website developer to migrate the data from the old platform to a new Drupal 7 site. The main complexity was to understand the different types of migration scripts and ensure that the data fitted seamlessly within the new website content structure. An added difficulty was achieving this while the old site was live and continually being updated by the confederation. 

Our approach

As ever, these challenges were a great opportunity for us! We have enjoyed working with Oxfam International over the years - we maintain their site and were involved with their Grow campaign - and were keen to make this technically difficult project run as smoothly as possible.

Our initial approach was to work with Oxfam to define the parameters of the new site headings and multiple content types in order to discover the bespoke requirements. It is only in the discovery phase that we are able to expose and test the assumptions that both we and the client have about what we are going to build. As you cannot predict the particular challenges you face when starting the migration process we entered a data discovery phase, working with the client on these three key areas:

  • Research. The site had different types of content, categorisation and required translating into a Drupal 7 framework. This required extensive research and presented a number of technical challenges. Before the migration took place it was essential to know why content was being referenced and how this data was being categorised within the existing site's framework.
  • Restructuring data. Updates and continually changing content to the existing site had been made by multiple users, across a number of years and in various languages. Due to these variants the old field types were inconsistent and required remodelling so that the migrated data could fit within the framework of the new site.
  • Support. We provided extra support for the client's internal development, so that their staff could better understand and assist the data migration process.

By researching and then restructuring specific aspects of the data we were able to create a custom Drupal 7 migration module, to initiate the transfer of data to the new Oxfam International site.

Data migration

Solving logic problems with the client was key to setting the parameters of the new data being added to the site, as circular dependencies within the 20 different content types were created across all content. The complexity of the interrelated content often needed to be addressed on a case by case basis.

The main Oxfam site was continually in use during the data migration process, so source data was continually being updated. The added complexity of the rolling migration meant that lots of content was changing all the time and understanding the interdependencies of new and existing content was key to the process of data migration.

During this phase Oxfam International decided to put the new website on hold. A year's gap meant the project lost momentum and the organisations requirements changed for the new website.

It was at this point that Agile Collective was hired as the main developer for the project and were able to push forward with the data migration and launch a responsive new site, optimized for mobile viewing and designed to drive site traffic to action email donations.

The result

The result was a seamless data migration of all the key information to the new Drupal 7 site, delivered on time as part of the launch of Oxfam international’s new branding.