Project Highlights

  • Launch date: October 4, 2021
  • Upgrade to move Cook County Government site from Drupal 7 to Drupal 9
  • Design refresh focused on better UX for visitors
  • Utilizing Acquia hosting, including their toolset (Site Factory and Site Studio)

Project Background

Clarity recently completed and launched a necessary re-platform of the Cook County Government website, upgrading it to Drupal 9.

In addition to the necessary platform upgrade, additional pain points that the County was experiencing, included:

  • Refreshing the look and feel of the site
  • Improving navigation and accessibility
  • Updating workflow processes supporting content review prior to publication
  • Improving both internal and external user experience
  • Consolidating and standardizing a core infrastructure to allow for enhanced and simplified scalability across both the Cook County website ecosystem and internal client base
  • Implementing state-of-the-art page design tools to enable content authors and editors to have more control over design and content presentation in page layouts

We worked directly with the Cook County Department of Communications and the Bureau of Technology to fully manage all phases of this project.

Our Work

Clarity partnered with Acquia to facilitate a migration to their cloud hosting services, enabling the use of an infrastructure and content toolset that modernizes the County’s web services landscape.

Upgrading from Drupal 7 to Drupal 9 required a full rebuild of the website.  This gave Clarity an opportunity to address the County’s aforementioned pain points as part of our version upgrade.  Clarity’s team of experts worked closely with the County to identify priorities prior to development.  The goal was a punch list of items that would receive special attention as we built in Drupal 9.

This was done utilizing well-worn, proven methodologies to guide our approach, including:

  • Working closely with County Subject Matter Experts to outline a specific and clear future vision. Throughout the project, the team met regularly to iteratively review key decision points at the right time.  This was critical to keep us on course with a shared vision.
  • Relying on our in-house web designer early and often. We utilized the designer’s eye to generally refresh the site by:
    • Implementing current design best practices to help reduce visual clutter and create better symmetry.
    • Introducing a more intuitive and easier to follow breadcrumb schema.
    • Establishing better content creation guardrails to support accessibility.
  • Engaging developers from project launch. This allowed for extremely valuable two-way input from the outset of the project.  This helped guide major decisions such as:
    • Module choices and core configuration setting options
    • The decision to eliminate custom modules in favor of easier to maintain out of the box options
    • Implementing more robust editorial workflow processes
    • Establishing a core distribution to facilitate future site builds on the Site Factory platform

Overall, Clarity project managers lead with the end result always in mind.  We diligently worked to guide the process in an orderly and productive fashion.  By relying on the experience of our analysts, designers, developers and project managers to drive conversations and present options.  This collaborative approach was key to our success.

The Impact

Cook County is the second largest in the United States, providing resources and information to a wide audience as well as its own employee base of roughly 28,000.  This site receives just under 10 million page views per year and with a new, consistent underlying code base, this positions the County to instantiate other sites on this platform relatively quickly going forward.