Drupal Site Helps Citizens Connect with Government
The Colorado General Assembly website represents the state Legislature and its four service agencies: the Joint Budget Committee, the Office of the State Auditor, the Office of Legislative Legal Services, and the Legislative Council Staff.
Collectively, these institutions needed a digital hub to publish and distribute information related to the legislative process. Accordingly, Elevated Third focused its build around three tenets: efficiency, accessibility, and education.
With a vast library of bills, reports, audits, and schedules to publish, Elevated Third had a steady stream of content to work with. The challenge was organizing this information within the new site architecture.
Drupal, Elevated Third’s content management system of choice, enabled the company to synchronize with the Colorado General Assembly’s internal servers and automatically upload content to a specific location on the website. This minimized the administrative burden of manual content entry and ensured that relevant information would be easy to navigate to.
Managing content with efficiency means less time pouring through stacks of old documents and more time focusing on policy, not only for legislators and staff, but also media outlets, publishers, and involved citizens.
Accessibility for Political Participation
Often, the complexities and gritty details of legislation intimidate people and act as a barrier to entry. But, you shouldn’t have to be an expert on the legislative process to participate in it.
With this in mind, Elevated Third took a topic-centered approach to site navigation. Rather than arranging bills and documents by number, as was the case on the old site, bills could now be found according to topics and content tags, or by a “most accessed bills” section. This eases the burden on less familiar users. If they have a general idea of what they are looking for, they can find it.
The legislative process is inherently complicated and, as much as Elevated Third loves Schoolhouse Rock, it takes more than “How a Bill Becomes a Law” to grasp it fully. While Elevated Third’s commitment to accessibility and efficiency demanded that the Drupal site gives average users the ability find what they needed, it didn’t want to restrict its potential as an education tool.
From a user experience perspective, this balance was struck with a commitment to simplicity and clarity. Bill progression graphics showed the history and status of the legislation, without overwhelming the user with complexities. Committee summaries and sponsor pages gave users an idea of how different actors can impact the process. Elevated Third felt that these simple cues would encourage engagement with the site and cultivate more political participation.
Breaking New Ground
In one of the largest and most comprehensive projects in Elevated Third’s history, the Drupal overhaul of the Colorado General Assembly website tested its strategic and technical prowess. The result: a centralized hub for all kinds of civic engagement.