AA Grapevine

AA Grapevine, Inc. is the publisher of the International Journal of Alcoholics Anonymous. Its primary purpose is to carry the AA message to everyone interested in alcoholism through its magazines, websites, and related items, which reflect the experience, strength, and hope of its members and friends on topics related to recovery, unity and service – while preserving anonymity.

The Project

It all started here…

Our partnership with AA Grapevine started in 2011 when North Studio took over supporting their Drupal 6 site. The historical site was successfully maintained on Drupal 6 until fall of 2019 when their new Drupal 8 site made its web and mobile appearance.

The goals of the Drupal upgrade were to take their existing content and make it mobile-friendly, accessible to users, and capture a more modern publication aesthetic.

AFTER (a scrolling representation)

Our Work

UX Design

Our UX team worked closely with AA Grapevine’s key stakeholders and internal UX lead contractor, Co Create Collective, to produce foundational assets such as:  User stories, content inventory assessments, page flow diagrams and low fidelity wireframes. These assets would set the stage for our UX design team to creatively bring the site to life. This included a visual redesign, making content accessible from every device with a focus on mobile. The design had a modern publication aesthetic with tiled article teasers, full articles that are easy to save and share, searchable archives, and resources for existing members, potential members and organization representatives.

Learn about our UX Design services.


  • Responsive design, which utilizes media queries to automatically adapt the website to any size of screen that it is viewed on.
  • Ability for content managers to easily create pages with complex structured content using Paragraphs.
  • Ability for content managers to upload audio versions of articles, which subscribers can listen to using a custom styled HTML5 audio player.
  • Multilingual support: the ability to create/translate content into multiple languages (currently English and Spanish).
  • Subscriber-only access to magazine articles and audio, with the ability for content managers to choose to make some sample articles and audio viewable by the general public.
  • Ability for subscribers to perform a keyword search of the vast archive of magazine articles and audio, powered by Apache Solr, with a number of search facets (filters) that can be utilized to quickly and efficiently narrow down the search results.
  • Ability for subscribers to save (ie. bookmark) stories that they would like to read again later.
  • Ability for subscribers to email a story to someone else.
  • Sobriety Calculator and Sobriety Card generator: these tools have been improved on the Drupal 8 website, with an updated responsive design and a more efficient calculation engine.
  • Events Calendar.
  • Webforms which people can use to share their own stories and events.
  • Webform for applying to become a Grapevine Representative.
  • Webforms for submitting captions for the magazine’s monthly cartoon, and for voting on submitted captions for the next month’s cartoon.
  • Ability for content managers to create Polls on the website, which visitors can vote on.
  • Media library, which gives content managers the ability to browse and select from previously uploaded images and audio when editing content.
  • Responsive image galleries/carousels.

The Technology

Drupal 8!  Migrating 60,000+ articles from Drupal 6 to Drupal 8 was not going to be a low-level lift – there was historical content dating back to the 50s!  But, North Studio is home to some of the best developers in the Drupal game which made the feat a task we’d tackle with excitement. Our experts custom-coded modules to keep up with the demands of the modern web, and guided a massive modernization of Grapevine’s digital archives, building a user-friendly faceted search app with custom sorting and display for articles dated as far back as the 1950s.

Digital Strategy

While AAGrapevine.org is built in Drupal 8, their store was previously built in DOT.net and moved to an unrelated subdomain which adversely affected their SEO and subscription generation. When North Studio was asked to assist in regaining traction in the search engines we onboarded our marketing partner Stikky Media. Stikky Media worked diligently with AAGrapevine, North Studio and ESP to ensure the site had greater visibility on Google and improved user experience which has resulted in increased user visits, page views, and conversations (checkouts).

The Outlook

Over the years of working side-by-side with AAGrapevine’s web team we had gained a mutual respect and trust that turned our relationship into a partnership. A partnership that managed to put many moving pieces into place as we walked together through the finish line and reflected on the hard work and dedication it took from both teams to get us there!


The North Studio team can upgrade your site to perform.

Join AA Grapevine, the Bill Gates Foundation and many other non-profits who have enjoyed the benefits of a re-designed Drupal website.

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