Doctors Without Borders for Spain

Doctors Without Borders (MSF) for Spain is one of the most important NGOs in the world dedicated to medical and health aid in areas of conflict or disaster. A year ago Ymbra was commissioned to design the architecture and build a system that would allow them to solve three major shortcomings that had the following characteristics:

  • Administer the public website with a content management system that allows high customization of every page.
  • A platform for creating fundraising forms connected to their corporate CRM.
  • A profile area organization members can use to make specific donations, modify their data and their contribution.

And all this following a responsive design using the latest front end tools to serve the best version of the web to each device.

To address the needs of the public web we have built a solution based on Drupal 7 but focusing on the needs to have maximum flexibility in the page layout without the communication team having any technical knowledge. The solution needed to have different layouts available to present the content as well as the possibility to compose pages by dragging new components created by publishers to each of the pages. All this has been solved by intensive use of Panels and Panelizer and paying special attention to have the best possible markup using BEM and SMACSS.

All this development has been carried out with a special attention on performance because the page can have an exponential growth in visits as a result of a disaster, for example. That is why all listings of the web as well as the search engine have been built using Apache Solr instead of using indexes in database.

To address the need of creating custom forms and integrate the data into their corporate CRM via webservices we have developed a custom form platform. This allows the creation and presentation of these forms according to different parameters and collect all the data to be sent to the appropriate service or even allow to integrate the logic with a payment gateway like PayPal or Trustly.

At this point it was deemed appropriate to develop a set of automatic tests with Behat that ensured at all times the correct behavior of the form presentation layer: the core functionality of the organization.

To provide a solution for the members profile area we have developed a private section for this colective they can use to manage personal data, make specific donations, download tax certificates and other similar operations. The peculiarity of this section is that all information related to members is stored in the corporate CRM and therefore both for authenticatication and obtaining or modifying data, we had to develop an abstraction layer to connect to corporate webservices. In addition, depending on the type of membership, the options available and the data shown are completely different.

It's been a few weeks since the project was implemented in production and we can say that it has been a success. MSF now has a flexible and powerful content management system and they can add value to their work on the ground. In addition, the MSF fundraising department has a tool that gives them maximum flexibility and a wide range of customization making recruitment campaigns for members and visitors. And finally, now every member has a page to modify their profile and also we have allowed MSF to add new features here to enable them improve services to its partners and reduce the response time in more automatic tasks.

We can say it has been a successful project for both sides, and a proof of that will be the news that you will read on this blog in the near future about new projects and improvements.