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Review: DMX document management for DNN
The Document Exchange (DMX) module is an add-on module that can be purchased and installed for those already using the DNN content management system for their internet or intranet websites, or for those who are looking for a full-featured document management solution.

We recently spent several months working with and customizing the DMX module for The Princeton Review, an international test preparation and college admissions service company with several thousand documents. We’re also using and customizing the DMX module for a national legal association. 

Having put this module through its paces and then some, we think associations and other organizations that are either running DNN or are in the market for a document management system would do well to give this module some serious consideration.

DMX key features:

The DMX document management module gives users the ability to specify who can view, edit, add or approve content, document by document. They also can build complex folder structures and categorize them to suit their document management needs, index the contents so users can easily find them and allow users to edit documents online while locking the file to others. It also has drag/drop capability, making file uploading and management much quicker.

DMX handles security very well by changing files to resource files that can’t be opened by going to any direct link on the website. Rather, the module has to decode the file in order to open it. Documents and document categories can be assigned various security roles for administration workflow.

In our opinion, the best part of the DMX module is its Lucene Search Indexer functionality, which allows your users to search content within documents (including PDFs!), and provide easy sorting and grouping of documents into categories with customizable attributes you can assign. 

Shortfalls of the DMX module: 

With the current released version, users cannot search documents based on a date range. The module’s creator posted online quite some time ago that this functionality would be added, but it hasn’t happened yet. 

Verdict:

There’s that famous line… “You had me at hello.” Well, the DMX module had us at the ability to search PDF documents, and do it well. That feature alone makes the DMX module a winner. The module is solid and well-built for large-scale document management. True, it can be tricky to customize, and the lack of a date range search is weird. But the positives far outweigh the negatives.

Link to DMX module:
http://store.dnnsoftware.com/home/product-details/document-exchange-61

Module license cost: $249

 

 


 

Your Jobs Page: Is It a Wallflower Or a Social Butterfly?
Are you using your website to display job openings? If so, there are some important elements to consider in addition to the job description. How are candidates learning when openings become available? Why not use your site to not only list job openings but to recruit staff? Here are some tips:

Register for notification. Rather than passively posting the information about the job and waiting for resumes to flood your in-box, allow visitors to register and subscribe, so when a relevant position does open up, they will be automatically notified. There are Content Management Systems that have tools that do just that, that function as full-featured job-management tools. And it’s a lot less expensive to do it that way than to custom-build that functionality.

Is your jobs page mobile responsive? With a younger audience especially this is not only important, it’s essential. Also, is your jobs page tied to social media? Are your postings also going out to outlets such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter? i2 can help set your site up to make those links automatically, ultimately making your company more attractive to candidates. 

Are you telling the story of your company’s culture, right down to the benefits of living and working in your area? Placemaking is critical these days. Recent studies have shown that location is far more important with the younger generation. For example, are there bike trails nearby? What restaurants, nightlife, cultural attractions and school districts does your area have to offer? You would be wise to include that, and to include it on your jobs page or somewhere that’s easy to find. Doing this also helps your organization’s web search ranking when you link to those features. 

 


 

Are you Developing an RFP and Need (or think you need) Single Sign-on? Read This First
We’ve implemented various degrees of single sign-on between content management systems and association management systems. Often when we receive a Request for Bid for an association website, clients tell us they want Single Sign-On (SSO) capabilities. Seems straight-forward, right? Not so fast.

A lot of times we don’t know going in if an association just needs the ‘light’ version or the ‘full-calorie’ version of Single Sign-On, because RFPs don’t always include the details we need to make that determination. The time for development can range from just a few hours for a light version, to well over 100 hours for a full-calorie version, which is why nailing down the difference between the two early on can save both your developer’s timeline and your deadline and budget.

As a starting point, consider this: with lite single sign-on you get to see. At full calorie, you get to do

Here’s what I mean…

Single Sign-On (Lite). Let’s say you have a scenario where you would like members to login to the website, which then automatically logs them into your Association Management System (AMS). With that, members can now access your AMS as well as see any protected content within your website. That’s the light version, and means a relatively inexpensive SSO. Piece of (lowfat) cake.

Single Sign-On (Full Calorie). In this scenario, you want members to perform advanced functions on the website, such as event registration, eCommerce, dues payments and more. You’d also like to add some convenience features for your members. For example, when the member logs in and registers for an event, you’d like their contact information (address, etc.) to auto-populate the registration form. When they complete whatever they are doing, that data will then be pushed back to your AMS. This is a full calorie version of Single Sign-On. Certainly do-able, but requires much more time in planning and development, which means more cost.

Like snowflakes, no two SSOs are alike. So it’s important to truly know what you need and why you need it, because you may end up be being quoted or billed for the full-calorie SSO, when all you need is the lo-cal version, or vice versa.

In our next post, we’ll talk about 5 critical things you should do for your website for January, 2015.

 

Mobile Design: Don’t Sign the Contract Until You Read This
Your association’s most recent member survey has resulted in a mandate: your website has to become mobile friendly. Now, don’t make that face; going mobile is the best thing an organization can do for its members these days.

Here are some things to consider when looking to go mobile:

Are you using a Content Management System (CMS)? If you are, and it’s something like Drupal, WordPress or DNN, say, then you are looking at potentially just creating a new theme that is mobile-friendly. All your content is there, you’re just having us create a new front end. Doing it that way could save some cost, both on our end and yours.

If your site isn’t in a CMS or something proprietary, you might run into issues. There are systems out there that combine a CMS with the association management system, and with some of those, you might be locked into a design that is not mobile-friendly. Bottom line: the technology your site is currently using is extremely important in determining whether a re-design for mobile is possible.

Your content: Is it clean? This has to do with the time it will take to make your site mobile friendly, and ultimately, the cost. And what clean means is if your site uses lots of tables and lots of “in-line code,” meaning forced font sizes and styles, all of that is going to need to be “cleaned” for mobile devices. What was fancy and appealing when your website was initially designed for displaying on a desktop is just plain messy for mobile use. And if there’s a lot this messily formatted content, you’re talking some additional time and expense in getting the content prepped for mobile.

Navigation: How complex/deep is your site now, and how complex/ deep does it need to be for mobile? With menus on mobile devices, you’ve typically got a scrolling list view of pages. If your site is four levels deep, it can make navigating a real problem on a mobile device. The more levels, the tougher it is for users to navigate. And with every extra click a user has to make to get somewhere on your site, the likelier it will be that they will give up. “Flattening” the navigation (less layers) and consolidating pages will help make navigation easier and more efficient on a mobile device.

Landing pages: With mobile, it’s all about consolidated content, creating landing pages that serve as launching pads to common content (pages that get the most traffic), so you’re not forcing your users to hunt for it. 

The days of flashy websites are, for better or worse, coming to an end as more and more people use mobile devices for everything they do online. A simplified look and optimized content presentation is key. With mobile devices, you only have so much screen real estate and often, limited bandwidth; anything that is not needed by your users should be eliminated.

In our next post, we’ll clear up the mysteries of single sign-on.

 

i2Integration Celebrates Twenty Years in the Web Development Business
With a video and multimedia business barely off the ground, John Forsberg had a meeting in 1994 with a client when the client mentioned that he would also like a website.

"I said 'Sure.' Then I drove straight to a bookstore and began learning everything I could about website development," Forsberg recalled. "That was our first website."

That one website transformed the direction of the company. Just three years later, i2 partnered with Microsoft, becoming one of the first companies in the U.S. to develop video for the web using Microsoft NetShow, a technology that would become Windows Media.

As they grew, they advanced into more complex programming, system design and application development. To reflect that, the company's name was changed in 1999 from Forsberg Multimedia to i2Integration.

Today, i2's clients come from across the U.S., and include a leading publishing company in New York City, a major southern U.S. retailer, a leading national wireless carrier, non-profits in Washington D.C. and even a veterinary clinic in Key West, Florida.

Forsberg's company has become known for its development and support of a content management system called DNN. To date, they have implemented upward of 500 DNN sites for organizations worldwide.

They also do development and support for Microsoft SharePoint, iMIS, Avectra netFORUM and SalesForce CRM.

"We never stand still," Forsberg said. "One day we might be building an entire e-commerce system for a major retailer, or building a mobile app, or a website redesign. And all that could happen the same day."


Innovation also plays a role. i2 is currently working on a web-based financial projection application for small businesses. 

"It’s a project born out of love (and necessity) when the economy crashed in 2008," Forsberg said. "From a crude app we built in 2008 that quite literally saved our business, we’ve refined into a sleek and powerful tool for small business owners. We’re in the beta stage and plan to roll it out this year or early next. But so far the response has been incredible. We’re pretty geeked about it."

With so many web development companies coming and going, Forsberg said client trust has been paramount to i2Integration's consistent track record.

"We've always been straight with our clients, even if it's not in our best interest," he said. "I don't know how many times we've offered recommendations that made sense for the client that meant us doing nothing at all. I'd rather have a happy client who knows we're looking out for them, because they'll come back – and they have. Do right, and you'll be rewarded."

 

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