University of Massachusetts Humanities and Fine Arts

Project Brief

With a recent decision that all University sites needed to be Drupal-based, the University of Massachusetts-Amherst College of Humanities and Fine Arts reached out to Transit Authority Figures and Knectar, a MA Drupal web development company for a brand new site. The added challenge was that a Drupal distro would need to be created based on the main site, allowing for 20+ department sites to be easily created with a consistent brand look and feel.

With an emphasis on ease-of-use both on the front and back-ends, Transit and Knectar partnered to create a lovely site. Visitors to the site are able to easily navigate and find what they need, while back-end users are able to easily enter content and insure that it shows up correctly formatted and in the correct locations. Most importantly, everything designed and built for the main site will transfer over to all department sites with minimal effort, allowing for a distro that can be continuously updated and maintained.

With fun features like a rotating footer background image, and a moving logo that plays with the horizontal bars of the newly redesigned HFA logo, the Humanities and Fine Arts site was an excellent collaboration of talent, and we look forward to rolling out the department sites over the next few months.


Due to University regulations, the Knectar team had to carefully consider which modules were used from the University-approved list, and make a strong case for any outside modules. This added a fun twist to our initial scoping and development of the project, making sure that everything could be accomplished with the UMass-approved list, or that we had valid reasons behind asking for any additional modules.

In an attempt to keep the department sites as user-friendly as possible, as most of the content entry and maintenance will be done by users of a lower technical skillset, the content types and taxonomies were kept fairly reined in for this project. The Knectar team implemented our standard Blocks Placer interface, to allow for easy, case-by-case placement of blocks per page, allowing intro-level users to create unique and engaging pages with ease.

The department sites created with the distro also allow for some simple user customization of the homepage slideshow and homepage accent color, insuring that every department can have it’s own style and feel, even while staying in the confines of the distro design.

Other Knectar University Drupal Development projects:

Collaborator: Transit Authority Figures