Polar bear mom with cub

Photo: Kieran McIver/Polar Bears International

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By Barbara Nielsen, Senior Director of Communications



16 Nov 2021

When we began building our new website earlier this year, our design firm suggested that we use Contentful for our content management system.

It’s now been more than a month since we launched our new website, and we couldn’t be happier with the choice. We find it easy to make updates and add new content, and we love the flexible, modular approach, which is perfect for our diverse content requirements. We’re also extremely grateful that Contentful generously offered their product to us pro bono due to our nonprofit status.

Here are some of the ways we’re finding Contentful a huge improvement over our previous content management system:

We now have dedicated work areas to ensure a uniform and coherent editing experience. Previously, our page edits required knowledge of HTML, but Contentful has no such restrictions. Instead, it separates content and templating to ensure that our pages are robust and future-proof, with no coding knowledge required.

We also love Contentful’s ability to leverage content beyond text and images. Our Polar Bear Tracker, for example, is a great engagement tool that offers an interactive way to view bear movements, learn bear facts, and explore other features, like our research initiatives.

By employing Contentful CLI, our web developers were able to replace the previous Polar Bear Tracker’s outdated and complex Ice Layer import process with serverless functions. In addition, the Bear Tracker also leverages Contentful’s editing UI. This was missing from the previous system, which meant that updates to the Bear Tracker records had to be made by developers familiar with SQL. Now we’re able to manage all records using an intuitive UI, making changes or overrides without the involvement of specialized developers.

Lastly, with use of JAM stack (Vu Nuxt and Netlify), we took full advantage of build pipelines and the ability to preview all changes. The preview capability previously required us to purchase a costly annual subscription to legacy CMS’s content staging module. The site is much faster and secure in the new static form, with the ability to grow and develop new features with minimal impact to editors and ongoing marketing initiatives.

In short, we couldn’t be more gratetful to Contentful for providing us with such an excellent product pro bono.

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