RCMP steps up drug awareness with regional Web sites

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police has broken its youth drug program Web site into pieces that be localized in order to deal with the issue in specific communities across Canada.

The D.E.A.L. (Drug Education Awareness for Life) program is a cross-Canada database for youths. A localization engine is the best way to form a partnership with them, said Francisco Chaves, a D.E.A.L. program administrator.

“”The D.E.A.L localization engine (DLE) lets the community take charge,”” Chaves said. “”It’s like creating a small network of sites, with each location having some say over their site. Each region has their own needs, and this allows them to alter their sites accordingly, but it also lets the youth publish their own material on the site without having to go through the main site.””

Tim Nast is an e-consultant with Hull, Que.-based i4design, the company responsible for designing the Web site for the RCMP. In hopes of making a seamless Web site that offers little resistance at both the front- and back-ends, Nast has helped develop the localization engine. Similar to a normal Web portal, the engine lets IT managers create an unlimited number of regional sub-sites that can be easily updated and accessed by all parties using the site.

“”The key to a Web site is being able to go to the back-end and change it easily, because if you can’t, there tends to be a bottleneck that cripples the workflow,”” said Nast.

“”We needed absolute ease of use so all people with authorization can put their content online without needing to know HTML,”” he added. “”The goal of the sub-sites is local autonomy because each region may have their own initiatives, and the localization engine gives them the autonomy they need.

“”The localization engine also accommodates the silo mentality but eliminates the separation of silos,”” Nast said. “”You can control and link all the departments together.””

Many overworked and understaffed IT managers face the same challenges as the RCMP, in that they’re trying to constantly update their Web sites with fewer and fewer resources. A localization engine may be the answer for managers because it allows some of the work to be shared without disrupting the workflow of the main site — allowing for horizontal workflows with a silo mentality, said Chaves.

“”Everybody’s working in different locations, but working on the same goal,”” Chaves said. “”The DLE allows us to step back and look at what each region wants and needs so we can help.””

Chaves used online surveys as examples of how a localization engine can help IT managers. He said the survey can be applied nationally, but results can be tabulated regionally to help better serve customers.

“”The thing about the DLE site that IT managers can learn is that it allows the community and online users to communicate much more effectively with a business, regardless if that business is the government,”” Chaves said. “”You can take a few steps back and actually get a much more detailed map of the country.””

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