Simplifying and Accelerating a Learning Website

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Image of hands resting on an open laptop on a desk with the Exceljet website on the screen, small green plant, some books, papers, and a blue coffee mug on the desk near the laptop.

Exceljet provides resources, tutorials, and worksheets for learning Microsoft Excel. They publish complimentary reference materials and sell ad-free course subscriptions for users who want more in-depth, guided learning.

We moved Exceljet from Drupal 7 to Backdrop and created a modern, streamlined theme to improve the user experience. In the process, we boosted the site’s performance and simplified the code to make future maintenance easier.


Excel jet homepage

Getting off Drupal 7 without a migration

Since Exceljet is a small business, migrating to a newer version of Drupal didn't make financial sense due to the costs involved. Backdrop CMS provided the perfect solution for their needs. With Backdrop, re-using custom and contributed modules is possible without significant rewrites. By running a built-in script, we moved content and users to Backdrop.

Upgrading to Backdrop immediately improved the user interface and overall site performance. The new website is 30% faster without server upgrades or performance tuning.

Using Backdrop felt familiar to Exceljet’s veteran Drupal users, who didn’t require any training. They now have the best of what Drupal 7 offers, combined with improvements and best practices.

A simplified setup for e-commerce

We moved the e-commerce checkout process and customer data to Stripe to reduce liability and simplify the site architecture. This also gave Exceljet access to Apple Pay and Google Pay. Users can easily purchase videos and bundles and access digital content. This checkout experience required minimal development and will be easy to maintain in the future.

Screenshot of Exceljet's cart checkout screen showing items on the left and fields for shipping and payment information on the right, overlayed over a course bundle page

Improved user experience for paying subscribers

The new custom theme gives users a better experience as they go through video tutorials. They can see which videos they have previously viewed on course outlines and lesson pages, and a dedicated "Watch Videos" page gives them a snapshot of their past activity.

Additionally, paid subscribers can now save videos to their watchlist. These bookmarks have an editable dedicated page but are also tagged for every other context where the user can see a video.

We also streamlined the navigation so everything is simpler to find, resulting in more sales, happier customers, and fewer support requests.

ExcelJet Account page

The new website offers all the benefits we had with Drupal 7, along with several thoughtful upgrades and improvements. We can edit articles faster, and because we maintain thousands of pages on our site, this is a significant improvement.

David Bruns, Owner, Exceljet

Project credits

The following people contributed to the success of this project.

  • David Burns

    VP of Extended Support

  • Laura Donelan

    Senior Technical Project Manager

  • Nate Lampton

    Senior Technical Architect

  • Pauline Judge

    Senior Front-end Developer

  • Stephanie Ganzer

    Senior UI Designer

Anchor to move to the services section


We provided the following kinds of services to help this project succeed.

  • Accessibility

  • Commerce

  • Data Migration

  • Deployment

  • Front-end Development

  • JavaScript

  • Mobile

  • Performance and Scalability

  • Search

  • User Management

Get in touch with us

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