Thursday, March 10, 2011

Language Software -

Ultralingua, Inc. is a software company that makes products for people who love languages. Their website is a place for people to access a free online dictionary, download product trials, and purchase software for personal use. It is also a hub of information for business partners and offers a technical support section for customers.

Ultralingua competes in the market for software-based language tools such as dictionaries, spellers and grammar checkers. Their customers include teachers, students, translators, and multi-lingual professionals from a host of industries. They also sell to many organizations including HarperCollins, the Government of Canada, Hachette Multimedia, netTrekker, and Texthelp who purchase site licenses and embed OEM, APIs, and web versions of their products.

Ultralingua began work to transition to Drupal in 2009, and launched their new Drupal-based site in early 2010.


By mid-2009, Ultralingua had been using a series of static pages as its website for several years, and they were ready for a change. Their company and product lines were growing quickly, and the system they were using at the time couldn’t keep up. With a team of developers on staff already, the company had the internal expertise to take on the development of the new site themselves.

 "We had done traditional web development before, but Drupal was completely new to us," explained Bret Jackson, Ultralingua’s web developer for the project. "We chose Drupal because such a large community supports it, and we could see quickly that the documentation and help forums would be an asset during the initial phase. We picked up the new terminology and structure quickly, but the early development stages came with some interesting challenges nonetheless."

Ultralingua’s website is the primary channel through which they market and sell their products, so they had to build in the tools they would need to communicate with customers and process sales effectively. Because they were new to Drupal, they ended up creating custom solutions to some of the challenges they faced rather than manipulating existing themes to get the results they were looking for.

Another goal the team had was to make it possible for individuals with limited technical expertise to edit content on the website. This was something their old solution did not allow, and it was hindering the company from creating content quickly enough to keep up with product releases. They also set goals to better integrate analytics and reporting into the structure of the site.

A website would also help Ultralingua communicate to their customers what sets them apart: their model for creating premier language software by bringing language and software experts together to create the best product possible. Language is constantly evolving and their software developers work directly with linguists and researchers to create language tools of the highest quality.

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