Keeping in mind the goal to simplify San Mateo’s user interface, we built their CMS using OpenPublic, a Drupal distribution maintained by Phase2. This allowed us to create an app-based platform in which site maintainers have the ability to pick and choose which apps are enabled for each site. Because each self-contained app is independent of the others, administrators can turn on functionality to use specific tools - using the location feature on one site but not the others, for example. By allowing for add-in features to address future needs, the lean and simple platform provides enduring long-term value. OpenPublic was also chosen for it’s public sector features right out of the box such:
- Responsive web design for better user engagement with your content, on any device.
- Multilingual support for translating content or building audience specific content.
- Customizable workflow for content administration to ensure publishing standards.
- Customizable security compliance (e.g., FISMA Moderate).
- Accessibility baked in, with 508 and WCAG 2.0 taken into consideration for all users.
- Key functionality such as custom promotions, drag-and-drop layout, custom webforms, press releases, blogs, and staff directories.
As part of OpenPublic, the Apps module allowed the San Mateo team to provide unique functionality to all departments and sites at an incremental level. Through the Apps module, San Mateo’s site administrators are able to easily turn on and off the functionality that they require for each site, giving them the functionality they need today with room for scale and growth in the future.
Search API and Views:
The Search API module with the Views module allowed us to share content across all the sites on the San Mateo platform. These modules allowed us to build a search functionality that would search for content across all sites as well as surface relevant content from anywhere in San Mateo’s platform, regardless of where the inquiry is submitted. For example, a resident searching for permits on the Planning Department’s site would return results not only from the Planning Department but also from the Public Works Department, the County Manager’s Office, and Parks departments, despite differences between each site’s technical setup.
The Panels module was used to give San Mateo’s site administrators a user-friendly interface to easily design page layouts with extreme flexibility. From a variety of pre-designed panels, administrators can select the desired view and choose between several configuration options for their layout and content. All panel options adhere to San Mateo’s re-branding guidelines, ensuring that each layout created, fits within a cohesive design throughout the platform.