Sacred Space: Ireland's largest multilingual website, built with the Drupal CMS
Sacred Space is a work of the Irish Province of the Society of Jesus - the Jesuits. Having built two versions of Sacred Space so far, we now work with the development team in Sacred Space on an on-going basis to add new features to the website, and help plan out future developments.
Sacred Space originated in the offices of the Jesuit Communication Centre in Ireland in 1999 and has become an invaluable resource for users, giving them a space to reflect and pray during the course of the day.
The original website had a vast range of features, built over a long period of time. This invariably led to a situation where various sections of the site didn't work well together, and the interface for translators became confusing and inefficient. We worked with the Sacred Space team to map out a clear definition of the features required on the site, and how these features should be implemented in a CMS. We also prepared an extensive data migration plan and pulled all the content into the new Drupal website.
There were many challenges to building this website. One major one was dealing with right-to-left languages and non-roman characters (such as Arabic and Korean) and also keeping track of all of this content in so many languages in advance of the liturgical calendar. Another was devising a rollout strategy for avoiding downtime on a site used globally. If it was rolled-out during night time in Ireland, it was being rolled-out during day time in Australia. Working with Sacred Space's infrastructure providers, we came up with a rollout plan that kept downtime to a bare minimum across the various sites. Another challenge (though quite an enjoyable one), was working with a translation team with widely varying technical skills and devising a coherent content strategy where the lack of one heretofore had led to a proliferation of templates and designs.
The end result was a website that functioned much better on the back end, while keeping changes hidden from the users. Sacred Space can still continue to welcome visitors in 20 languages - making it the largest multilingual website built in Ireland that we are aware of - except now they can do it more efficiently than ever before.
Sacred Space welcomes 18,000 people in 20 languages. Working with Annertech helped us to sharpen our focus, to develop better workflows, and to benefit from a well-structured development process. It has been great for us to be able to rely on the competent professionalism of Stella, Alan and their team.