- Kickoff date: December 16, 2021
- Main goal was to produce a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) in an accelerated timeline as an interim solution
- Leveraged Cook County site’s existing Acquia tools, including Cloud Hosting, Site Factory, and Site Studio
- Launch date: April 18, 2022
Project Background & Challenges
We were two months post launch on the Drupal 9 upgrade of the new Cook County Government site¹ when we kicked off a website redesign project on behalf of Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County (CCCCC). Their previous site was self-hosted on an outdated Content Management System (CMS).
This project required rapid development with focus on producing an MVP as an interim solution. They needed:
- A more stable, secure foundation
- Updated information architecture and business rules
- Allowance for timely content updates, future enhancements, and expansion
- The ability to leverage existing website content to save additional time
Additional challenges included:
Clarity needed to figure out how to present information to two separate, identifiable audiences – the residents of Cook County and judicial system participants – in a unified format.
Performance optimization was key – according to Think with Google², the probability of bounce increases 32% when a mobile device page load time goes from 1 second to 3 seconds. We had to consider the audience and their ability to leverage technology.
The fact that we had just finished a D9 upgrade on the main Cook County site meant we could utilize the Acquia Site Factory instance as well as Acquia Cloud Hosting and flexible Site Studio content management tools. This included use of additional Acquia/Drupal features, including:
- A robust, open source CMS (no licensing cost)
- Moving to a mature system with half a million enterprise and government clients
- Managed hosting
- Robust integration capabilities
- Ease of administration
- Use of templates enabling design consistency
- A robust application and hosting security
Replatform Implementation Process
Clarity identified a strategy with a central theme: to simplify the current format. Not only would this improve the organization of the site, it would also solve for these other issues, meaning improved user experience and site performance as well as the ability to implement best practices.
We started by building out the information architecture. Concurrently, a content audit of the entire site was conducted. The Clerk’s team was able to provide existing draft docs of much of the previous content that could be reviewed and updated. The results of the content audit determined the new site map structure.
Mood boards came next. The foundation of blue and gold was used to formulate a palette of additional colors, with a focus on accessibility. Clarity also formalized the typography the new site would have and built a governance guide for design consistency going forward.
The wireframes³ were focused on user experience. The components created were best practice and content was adjusted in a way the best made sense for users. Departments and districts had previously been organized independently, so we reworked the format to account for the relations that they share.
The mood board elements were then applied to mockups. The designs were updated in real-time as they were viewed by each member of the Clerk’s team.
Development only took a couple months since there was an accelerated timeline for finishing the interim solution. The Clerk’s team was then trained on the administrative changes to the new site, including how the upgrade affected their control as site users and improved their ability to update content in real-time.
CCCCC services all of Cook County, all judicial participants, and more than 400 judges who hear traffic, civil, criminal, juvenile and all other types of cases originating in Chicago and Suburban Cook County. With a modernized site, CCCCC is positioned to make necessary, real-time updates that affect all of these audiences. These end users will also be benefit from the updated simplicity of the site’s structure.