Case Study

A Powerful Platform to Advance Cleft Care for Children Across the World

Facts & Figures



  • Founded in 1999
  • Headquartered in New York City, Smile Train is a nonprofit organization and charity providing corrective surgery for children with cleft lips and palates.
  • Smile Train provides free corrective cleft surgery in 87 countries, training local doctors and providing hospital funding for the procedures.


  • Alleviate multi-site chaos
  • Create a new, unified, mobile-optimized, and global Drupal 8 platform where all their audiences could become involved
  • Tailor messaging for Smile Train’s diverse audiences


  • Analytics
  • Discovery
  • Drupal Development
  • Platform Architecture
  • UX & UI Design


  • Drupal
  • Enterprise platform integrations


A faster, unified, and mobile optimized platform. Donors, doctors, supporters, patients and families can easily find resources or paths to involvement. Smile Train’s team can create and manage content quicker than ever.

content types reduced from 49
contributed models streamlined from 167
taxonomies reduced from 19


Incorporating Smile Train’s vision into any strategic decisions was critical. The new platform needed a governance and architecture model to influence future sites and make content management much easier for their team.
They sought FFW’s help to revamp their flagship site as a cornerstone to a new, unified, mobile-optimized, and global Drupal 8 platform where all their audiences could become involved. This created an even greater need for Smile Train’s site to be mobile-friendly and accessible.


Smile Train and FFW’s discovery process was thorough and inclusive for their team. This allowed us to deeply understand the project objectives and how to keep Smile Train’s cleft-focused vision and their audiences at the forefront throughout the strategy.
Our workshops around personas and information architecture provided valuable insights around who Smile Train’s five key audiences are and how to best message them.
This information laid the groundwork for grouping content and creating a sitemap to help users more easily find and identify content that fits their needs.


Smile Train’s site now is faster, more responsive, and simplified for users and content editors alike, yet also more robust.
It lays the foundation of continuous improvements for Smile Train’s platform for years to come that can extend to all international sites.
More than a dozen components—such as galleries, cards, tabs, and listings—were implemented to allow editors to remix key pages with less friction.
Content was localized to allow Smile Train users in different regions to get relevant content in their language. Using best practices, FFW developers configured the site to reduce the friction of deploying or changing features on a per-site basis.
With multiple sites, using common code now allows all regional sites to share code and make distributed updates fast and reliable.