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Area Alert: A Pre-Built Drupal Emergency Response Site

by Jay Callicott
May 4, 2020

 

Area Alert Drupal distribution logo

For the past several weeks, the Mediacurrent team has spent hours collaborating on an open source emergency site. In a recent Area Alert post, expert designer Becky laid out the UI design approach to creating websites dedicated to emergency responses like the COVID-19 pandemic. Becky walked through user scenarios and digital psychology that inspired her design choices. 

This week, we are proud to announce the beta release of the Area Alert distribution! Mediacurrent has partnered with Pantheon to create a free public upstream along with 90 days of free hosting for qualifying organizations.

What’s In The Box

The goal of the Area Alert project is to enable organizations to rapidly develop and deploy emergency websites in a matter of hours or days, not weeks or months.

area alert demo page

Explore the full demo at https://areaalert.mediacurrent.com/.

Flexible Components

The first way we help expedite website creation is by giving content editors the tools to easily drop different types of components onto the page. The screenshot below shows you a toolbox of components that can be added to any page.

Area Alert sample content

The Area Alert distribution is pre-loaded with sample content that can help editors quickly get started and provides guidance about how to keep going.

Color Support

The next way this distribution supports the rapid setup of emergency response sites is with the “Color” feature. This feature gives administrators the ability to change the color scheme of the website from the UI.

Area Alert Colors

By giving editors the ability to quickly add branded colors, site administrators will be able to give site visitors more confidence in the authority of the website and more trust in their information right from the start.

Additional Features

The Area Alert profile comes with 4 content types and 15+ components including carousels, FAQs, maps, and media content.

Key features include:

  • Enterprise-level security
  • Fully responsive, mobile-ready theme
  • Fast translation using https://gtranslate.io/
  • Full-text site search to quickly search for a specific topic
  • Out of the box, pre-configured content types such as landing pages and press releases
  • Automated content aggregation for article content with a dedicated landing page and featured news area on the homepage
  • Twitter integration

Getting Started

As mentioned, Mediacurrent has partnered with Pantheon to create a free public upstream. This means that with a free account on https://pantheon.io/, you can fully install the Area Alert profile in a matter of minutes. Pantheon is also offering free elite plans for qualifying organizations. Read more about Pantheon’s offers. Visit the Area Alert public upstream link hosted on Pantheon to get started.

For advanced installations, developers are encouraged to visit the official project page on Drupal.org for more information. The project page also has information about how to submit bugs or join our public Slack channel.

If you would like to use this product but need some help to get started, Mediacurrent is standing by, ready to partner with organizations that need assistance with building out and maintaining their COVID-19 site, or any emergency response site. Contact us for a live Area Alert demo or for more information about our services. 

We’re In This Together

Mediacurrent, a long-time contributor to open source, is committed to helping the community respond to emergencies, like the COVID-19 pandemic, in any way we can. If you have any questions or comments, please contact us for more information. Our hope is that this contribution can help municipalities and organizations better communicate with the public during this difficult time.

Meet team member, Jay Callicott

Jay is an engineer and leader with a passion for creating technical solutions that solve real-world problems. As a long-time advocate for Drupal and Open Source, he has spent over a decade speaking, writing, and developing enterprise solutions that advance Open Source worldwide.

Since 2009, Jay has worked in a variety of roles for Mediacurrent. For the first 6 years, he focused his efforts on perfecting his craft as an engineer. From Drupal consultant to Senior Developer, then Lead Architect, Jay created solutions and led teams that delivered dozens of enterprise websites.

In 2015, Jay was promoted to Director of Development where he was tasked with hiring developer talent and implementing processes and best practices for the team. Jay also split his time as a lead architect, launching several large projects during this period.

A few years later, Jay moved into his current role as VP of Technical Operations. Jay’s primary responsibilities are working with the revenue team to acquire and retain customers, overseeing Security, DevOps, and IT roles, and leading Mediacurrent’s technology vision. He also helps lead the development of tools and solutions, including the Rain distribution, which won Acquia’s “Open Source Giants” award in 2019.

Currently, Jay is a big proponent of decoupled architecture and the JAMStack approach to web development. Read more about Jay’s thoughts in “The State of Drupal in 2019

Learn more about Jay >

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