Naval Cryptologic Veterans Association
The uniqueness of this Veterans Service Organization is founded in the pioneering spirit of sailors and U.S. Marines who, in the 1930s, intercepted and decoded Japanese Navy communications.
The U.S. Naval Cryptologic Veterans Association is a unique organization of active, retired, and honorably discharged U.S. Navy and Marine Corps cryptologists whose primary focus is the preservation of our rich cryptologic history. Their tradition is continued by members who are in the forefront of U.S. Navy information dominance and cybersecurity programs.
The U.S. NCVA is a certified Veterans Service Organization which, along with other VSOs like the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars, focuses on service to veterans and active duty personnel and support for continuing U.S. Navy operations in these very troubled times. Unlike other VSOs, the U.S. NCVA has no local lodges or facilities in any area. Members may establish regional chapters, but their meetings are social gatherings held in local establishments. The U.S. NCVA maintains and manages the Cryptologic Command Display at U.S. Navy Technical Training Center Corry Station in Pensacola, Florida.
Nuts & Bolts
All projects begin with the requirements. Primary to this and similar Websites are the mission and goals of the organization. The leaders of the U.S. NCVA wanted to move from an early and well-designed Website that had grown and grown as objectives were discovered to a Website that has the flexibility to serve its members and provide secure and reliable access to the Association’s wealth of information and programs. Oh, yes, and to do this with an eye to the current state of the art regarding mobile devices, too.
I used the Gantry framework to expand and enhance the usability and functionality of the Joomla CMS for mobile and desktop users. Gantry provides a relatively simple layout manager interface and incorporates up-to-date technologies such as SSES/LESS support, Twig templating, and YAML configuration.
This makes it easier to create content-specific template overrides on-the-fly as well as to assign particles to template themes and custom modules to individual content pages.
A significant advantage provided by the Gantry 5 framework and its underlying code is that the framework makes maximum use of HTML 5 to automatically adjust to the viewport of the device used to access the Website and render the content usable. Additionally, the mobile menu is automatically applied when pre-configured viewport dimensions are used.
Where Are You Landing?
I worked with the former Webmaster and leading officers of the Association to identify the main content elements or groupings. From that, I built landing pages for each separate content grouping. Members and visitors are much more likely to find the content they seek directly from the Web search engines because they land on a page that has inherited the keywords associated with its associated content articles.
Remember, visitors may not be members of the Association. In fact, most visitors probably are not eligible to join the U.S. NCVA (after all, it is a VSO that serves a distinct and fairly small member population). These visitors are still customers and consumers of the content provided by the U.S. Naval Cryptologic Veterans Association. The Association managers and I want all visitors to have the best, most efficient experience possible.
This framework—Joomla + Gantry 5—accommodates literally thousands of third-party software extensions or components. While many of these are used on a paid subscription basis, the costs are low and affordable. One component I especially like is the one that provides visitors and Association members with high-quality, low-overhead image galleries. There are lots of stories to be told in those photos.
How to measure success? In this case, hundreds of the over 2,000 U.S. NCVA members registered new accounts with this Website within the first 48 hours of its launch. That’s a pretty respectable indicator of user acceptance.