Georgia.gov is a state portal providing its visitors with access to key information and services from over 60+ executive branch agencies. In addition, the Georgia Technology Authority (GTA) provides state agencies with IT infrastructure and network services.
Despite these critical functions, the old proprietary system created an inflexible environment that was difficult for users to navigate. With an eye toward creating a platform that would both cut waste and provide better access to information and services for its citizens, GTA looked to Drupal and Phase2.
Building a Multi-site Architecture
Phase2 implemented a multi-site Drupal architecture to resolve these issues. The new system allows GTA to enforce consistency across agency sites, while still allowing each to have its own custom features and theme.
The new system balances the consistency GTA needs with the customization agency sites want — all at a lower ongoing cost and with fewer headaches.
Large-scale Multi-site Migration
GTA had dozens of websites under its management, which added up to thousands of pieces of content to migrate. Tack on the fact that the content resided on two different versions of a proprietary Vignette system and you have a recipe for a complex migration. Human review would be necessary to make sure that everything came across correctly and cleanly.
To speed things along, we migrated content to the in-progress development site. This allowed reviewers to clean up migration problems as development was completed instead of waiting until the end, all while adding features as it became clear that they were needed.
This approach saved significant amounts time and allowed content to more effectively flow in from development. Project manager Felicia Haynes says, “Running development and content review concurrently allowed us to turn apples into apple pie!”
Our design team created eight different themes that each agency could choose from, allowing for a level of personalization that still preserved consistency in the over-arching design and structure.
Georgia.Gov and the various Georgia agency sites have a standard set of specific security and policy requirements such as FISMA compliance and role-based security permissions. Utilizing OpenPublic (a Drupal distribution specifically designed to meet the needs of public sector websites) as a base, the platform is capable of full compliance with government accessibility and security needs.
A notification feature was built into the Drupal platform so that information regarding statewide emergencies could be created and automatically disseminated to all agency sites, even those not using the new platform.
With a myriad of content spread throughout the sites under GTA’s umbrella, implementing an effective search system was critical to creating a streamlined user experience. Thus, Georgia.gov was reconceived as a portal to information across all state agency sites.
We built an integrated set of search components designed to make accessing information a more intuitive and enjoyable endeavor. Some custom search features included “auto-suggest” and type-ahead matching. These features significantly save time by bypassing search result page load times. You can learn more about Georgia.gov’s search tools in our case study.
Access to content via any device was a priority for the state of Georgia. Georgia.gov was designed with a responsive theme, which resizes and reorganizes content to provide an easy and enjoyable user experience on any device.
Result: A sleek customized multi-site platform
Georgia’s new Drupal platform promotes consistency and flexibility across all agency sites. Through the power of open source software, GTA can now provide the citizens of Georgia with better access to their state’s online resources while also saving money.
Want to learn more? Read the case study!