Drupal has always been about community. It’s quite literally built on an open-source model, meaning developers anywhere and everywhere can help build the content management system’s (CMS) core code. However, actively contributing to Drupal can be intimidating, even for me, a senior project manager with a background in light coding, HTML, CSS, and experience working with some seriously talented Drupal engineers over the last 15 years. 

As the Oomph team prepared to head to DrupalCon Portland 2024 — the biggest event of the year for the Drupal community — I realized I was finally ready to dive in and contribute. My experience at DrupalCon as a second-time attendee was eye-opening and energizing, from presenting at the first session on the first day to putting my Drupal knowledge to the test as a first-time code contributor. 

I left Portland with an even deeper appreciation for the talents of our development team  — and greater confidence in my own ability to add value to the community. Drupal is focused on lowering the barrier to entry for people to use the platform, a commitment that shone through in so many ways during my three days in Portland. 

Still think you don’t have anything to contribute to Drupal? Revisit DrupalCon 2024 through my eyes as a first-time contributor to see just how much you can do with Drupal — developer or not.

Breaking Barriers to Accessibility at DrupalCon

Accessibility is all about making your website useful to people of all abilities (check out our articles on accessible web navigation, getting started with accessibility, and the most recent Web Content Accessibility Guidelines update to learn more about it). At Oomph, we also know that accessibility tools and audits can feel anything but accessible for people who don’t spend as much time in Drupal as we do. 

That theme carried through many of my favorite DrupalCon moments, including: 

Oomph’s DrupalCon Session 

My colleague Kathy Beck and I built upon our 2023 Drupal GovCon presentation to offer a standing-room audience of over 150 people even more tips for demystifying website accessibility. As one of just two accessibility sessions at the conference, our goal was to help people understand how accessibility can be self-guided, which accessibility fixes can make the most impact, and how even accessibility newcomers have something to offer the Drupal community. 

Watch the full session here. 

Driesnote: Unveiling Starshot

Immediately after our session, we packed up and headed to the Driesnote keynote speech by Drupal Founder and Lead Developer Dries Buytaert. He reflected on Drupal’s beginnings (Drupal’s been around longer than the brick-sized cellphone he brought on stage) and offered a look at how the platform will be increasingly frictionless and user-friendly, sharing that:  

Watch the full Driesnote here. 

Going Further With Drupal as a First-Time Contributor

After two days of sessions, we entered the portion of DrupalCon where folks can begin digging in more on our shared missions and contributions. My sights were set on finding more ways to contribute back to the Drupal community. 

The Drupal Mentorship Program puts on the First-Time Contributors Workshop to create a safe space for folks to dip their toes into the Drupal Core waters. Some first-timers are developers themselves, but others, like me, are Drupal-adjacent: project managers, graphic designers, and more who’ve worked alongside Drupal developers but haven’t written much code themselves. Following the introductory presentation and some great Q&A, the first-timers were released from the lecture to find the mentored contributions room. 

Cracking the Drupal code

Upon entering the room, there was a buzz in the air. Folks had broken up into groups working to solve several Drupal Core issues flagged as “novice.” I rallied with a few attendees and friends to tackle documentation — a place where I thought I could put my project management skills to good use. 

We selected an issue to resolve (#3425692, if you’re curious) and, with the help of mentor Farnoosh Johnson, started working to determine and develop a fix. This was particularly exciting as a project manager who’s always been curious about how my developer team members build code. Though the ultimate goal was to see our resolution deployed (only one team had the pleasure), the program’s real purpose was to contribute. That’s it. 

Our mentor continually reminded us that we were here simply to work within the Drupal CMS core code base and community: to work with the tooling, to join the Drupal Slack, to practice interacting with Drupal issues, and generally spread the knowledge and empowerment that comes with applying our technical skills to a real-world challenge. 

Sitting around the table with strangers who quickly became friends, we dove into our issue. Rather than creating documentation, we actually worked on a series of issues causing merge failures for a documentation update, reverse engineering the steps to identify the missing information and root causes. I learned how to work with DrupalPod, an exceptional extension for Chrome and Safari that enables you to set up a working code base without a local environment. I also got a firsthand taste of how involved development can be. For example, running a PHPUnit testing suite took over an hour. 

While we didn’t achieve a live commit on Day 1, fellow attendee Tiago Bember and I were both determined to resolve the issue. The next day, we reunited to keep working, and my colleague Phil Frilling joined us to check our facts and provide input when we got stuck. I’m happy to say that we successfully opened and approved the merge request, something I had done fewer than five times in my life before, and the update has now been reviewed and deployed (thanks, Drupal team!). 

Take the Drupal Plunge With Me

After DrupalCon 2024, I can officially say I’m not a first-time code contributor. But I will be a passionate member of the Drupal community for life. 

I gained a deeper appreciation for the time and development work it takes to power such an incredible platform, as well as empathy for engineers around the globe who persist through what can feel like hurdle after hurdle in pursuit of submitting code updates. 

For those of you who have yet to take the plunge, I highly recommend giving it a shot. You don’t even have to code! You can apply marketing skills, deck design, branding, and so much more. 

Want more DrupalCon 2024 or need tips to start contributing? Access Drupal’s curated collection of video resources or get in touch with the Oomph team. Talking about Drupal is kind of our thing. 

Go Ask Alice! (GAA!) is a judgment-free, anonymous question-and-answer site. It is part of Alice! Health Promotion, a department of Columbia Health. Their content has always been reliable, accurate, and thoroughly researched by professionals — humans, not Artificial intelligence (AI)!  While organic search brings many different kinds of audiences across the globe to their answers, their primary audience is the college students of Columbia University. These digital natives need the content to speak their language and to look modern and relevant. Oomph leaned into the college-aged persona to create a user interface that was fun, unique, and approachable while acknowledging and respecting the gravity of the questions students ask. 

The Brief

Empathize with both Visitors and Authors

We began by working to understand and empathize with their audience — which was easy. How many of us have gotten lost searching for answers to questions we might not ask our own close friends? Questions like, “Can I get Hepatitis A from eating raw seafood?”, “Do I have OCD?” or even “Why did my father abandon me?” Analytics supported how these types of questions were prevalent. They also showed that while many visitors found GAA! through search, those visitors found their answer and quickly left. While in some ways, this was positive — someone had a question and found a satisfactory answer — visitors missed lots of other answers to questions they might have.

For the Go Ask Alice! author team, technical issues often arose that were rooted in an overly complex content architecture and workflows that required lengthy workarounds. A complicated review and approval process and ineffective spam filters made combing through user submissions time-consuming. The longer it takes the team to create new answers, the less students will want to send GAA! their questions.

Our shared goals were to:

The Approach

Modernization & Trust-building 

Most Gen-Z students and younger generations won’t trust a site that isn’t designed well for a mobile screen. Our design process emphasized the small screen experience, keeping filters, sharing, citations, and recirculation in logical places. The Columbia Health brand is also a powerful lever for establishing trust with a young audience, but we were careful not to let it overpower GAA!’s own authentic brand.

Human responses feel human

With the rise of AI and Google’s AI-generated search results, our design reinforced the humanity and empathy of GAA! by establishing a clear “Dear Alice” with a unique handwritten font and response from the author. When dealing with potentially sensitive and health-threatening answers, an authentic human voice is essential, and one that puts answers into context — is this thing I am asking about “normal”? What are the additional considerations I should know about? And so on. AI might give you one answer, but it won’t contain the context and nuance these anonymous human-generated questions require.

Unique Colors & Illustrations

Blue is strongly associated with Columbia Health and prevented the previous site from standing independently. Our design reduced focus on blue and shifted the site’s primary colors to maroon and yellow. Several other colors create wayfinding paths associated with answer topics. Scrolling the All Topics category page becomes a delightfully random color experience.

All color combinations adhere to WCAG 2.2 guidelines for Level AA, increasing the accessibility of this color-rich site for all visitors. 

A new set of illustrations curates a sense of inclusivity better than stock photos could. A wide variety of humans were chosen to represent the diversity of student populations. Little details, like the randomized person in the site’s footer, add a sense of surprise and delight to the entire browsing experience.

Supporting Trust with New Features

Enhancement ideas started to surface during Discovery and continued throughout the process from both teams. Some of our favorites include:

  1. The editor’s name, the answer’s published date, and its revision date were moved from the bottom of an answer and brought to the top. This information helps establish credibility quickly before reading an entire answer
  2. A feedback feature was added to individual answers, giving the GAA! team real-time data about the responses but also giving new visitors a greater sense of social proof
  3. A “Cite this Response” feature makes cutting and pasting an MLA (Modern Language Association) General Format- or Chicago-style academic citation into research papers easy. Since answers are so well-researched, these citations propagate GAA! further into academic culture

Increased User Engagement & Accessibility

Accessibility & Safety with a Quick Exit Button

Go Ask Alice! has many sensitive questions: questions about sexual abuse, suicide, drug use, and topics generally that you may not want someone else to see on your phone. We introduced a Quick Exit feature on each page of the site. When visitors click the button, a new tab is quickly opened, and the site’s browsing history is removed from their device. While this is not a well-known action in the general population, many in unsafe situations know how they work and what “Exit Site” means. 

Oomph has written an in-depth article about the quick exit button and has released a Quick Exit Drupal Module to help other teams implement this feature. 

Encouraging Question Browsing over Asking New Questions

It may seem counterintuitive, but one of the major workflows we redesigned was asking a question in the first place. The GAA! team has compiled thousands of great answers over the years and frequently updates old answers with new content to keep them current with changes in medical approaches. The small but mighty team didn’t want to answer the same questions over and over again by referring new askers to pre-published answers. 

Our solution emphasized search and intentionally made access to the Question form difficult. Visitors are encouraged to search for answers to previously posted questions first. Quite often, they will discover an answer to their questions (and maybe some helpful answers to questions they did not expect). Only if they have searched first will they encounter the “Can’t find your question” call to action, which leads them through the steps of asking a new question. 

The Results

The new site feels like a new beginning for the GAA! team. While the site has only recently launched, we look forward to seeing how it impacts key metrics like time on site and return visits. In the meantime, we’re also excited to see how the newly revamped admin experience helps the GAA! content team serve their audience even better than before. 

When faced with a sensitive question about mental, nutritional, emotional, or sexual health, college students can continue to Go Ask Alice!

The Brief

New Drupal, New Design

Migrating a massive site like healthdata.org is challenging enough, but implementing a new site design simultaneously made the process even more complex. IHME wanted a partner with the digital expertise to translate its internal design team’s page designs into a flexible, functional set of components  — and then bring it all to life in the latest Drupal environment. Key goals included:

The Approach

The new healthdata.org site required a delicate balance of form and function. Oomph consulted closely with IHME on the front-end page designs, then produced a full component-based design system in Drupal that would allow the site’s content to shine now and in the future — all while achieving conformance with WCAG 2.1 standards.

Equipping IHME To Lead the Public Health Conversation

Collaborating on a Comprehensive Content Model

IHME needed the site to support a wide variety of content and give its team complete control over landing page layouts, but the organization had limited resources to achieve its ambitious goals. Oomph and IHME went through several rounds of content modeling and architecture diagramming to right-size the number and type of components. We converted their full-page designs into annotated flex content diagrams so IHME could see how the proposed flex-content architecture would function down to the field level. We also worked with the IHME team to build a comprehensive list of existing features — including out-of-the-box, plugins, and custom — and determine which ones to drop, replace, or upgrade. We then rewrote any custom features that made the grade for the Drupal migration.

Building Custom Teaser Modules

The IHME team’s design relied heavily on node teaser views to highlight articles, events, and other content resources. Depending on the teaser’s placement, each teaser needed to display different data — some displayed author names, for example, while others displayed only a journal title. Oomph built a module encompassing all of the different teaser rules IHME needed depending on the component the teaser was being displayed in. The teaser module we built even became the inspiration for the Shared Fields Display Settings module Oomph is developing for Drupal.

Creating a Fresh, Functional Design System

With IHME’s new content model in place, we used Layout Paragraphs in Drupal to build a full design system and component library for healthdata.org. Layout Paragraphs acts like a visual page builder, enabling the IHME team to construct feature rich pages using a drag and drop editor. We gave IHME added flexibility through customizable templates that make use of its extensive component library, as well as a customized slider layout that provides the team with even more display options.

You all are a fantastic team — professional yet personal; dedicated but not stressed; efficient, well-planned, and organized. Thank you so much and we look forward to more projects together in the future!

CHRIS ODELL Senior Product Manager: Digital Experience, University of Washington

The Results

Working to Make Citizens and Communities Healthier 

IHME has long been a leader in population health, and its migration to the latest version of Drupal ensures it can lead for a long time. By working with Oomph to balance technical and design considerations at every step, IHME was able to transform its vision into a powerful and purposeful site — while giving its team the tools to showcase its ever-growing body of insights. The new healthdata.org has already received a Digital Health Award, cementing its reputation as an essential digital resource for the public health community.


Same Look, Better Build

Ordinarily, when we embark on rearchitecting a site, it happens as part of a complete front-end and back-end overhaul. This was a unique situation. Visit California users enjoyed the site’s design and helpful content features, so we did not want to disrupt that. At the same time, we needed to upgrade the frustrating back-end experience, look for broken templates, and find optimizations in content and media along the way.   

An underperforming API (which functions like an information pipeline to move content from one part of the site to another) and bloated data/code resulted in sluggish site performance and slow content updates/deployments. If the Visit California team wanted to change a single sentence on the site, pushing it live took well over an hour, sometimes longer — and often the build failed. Poorly optimized images slowed the site down even further, especially for the mobile visitors who make up the majority of site traffic. 

They were in dire need of a decoupled site connection overhaul so they could: 


Oomph started by looking under the hood — or, in this case, under the APIs. While APIs are supposed to make sites perform better, an outdated API was at the root of Visit California’s problem. Over the course of the project, Oomph integrated a new API, optimized images, and corrected bottlenecks across the site to make updates a breeze.

Putting Visit California in the Fast Lane

Implemented a New API

Visit California needed an API that could more quickly move data from the back end to the front. Two previous clients shared Visit California’s back-end architecture but used a modern JSON API Drupal module successfully. Switching from the GraphQL module to JSON API on the back end streamlined the amount of data, resulting in the team updating content or code in minutes instead of hours or days.

Streamlined Data During Deployments

On the front end, a Gatsby Source GraphQL plugin contributed to the issue by pulling and refreshing all data from the entire system with each content update. Oomph replaced the faulty plugin, which had known limitations and lacked support, with the Gatsby Source Drupal plugin.  On the back end, the Gatsby Integration module was configured to work with JSON API to provide incremental builds — a process that pulls only updated content for faster deployments.

Avg. full build time

64 min

Unexplained failure rate Before

52 %

Avg. incremental build time

42 min

Unexplained failure rate After

0 %

Fixed Image Processing Bottlenecks

Because we were already in the code, both teams agreed this was a great opportunity to identify improvements to boost page performance. We found that image processing was a drag — the site previously processed images during deployment rather than processing them ahead of time on the back-end. Oomph used the JSON API Image Styles module to create image derivatives (copies) in different sizes, ultimately decreasing build times. 

Lightened the Load on the Back-End

As Oomph configured the new architecture, we scoured the site for other opportunities to reduce cruft. Additional improvements included removing deprecated code and rewriting code responsible for creating front-end pages, eliminating static queries running thousands of times during page creation. We also resized large images and configured their Drupal site to set sizing guardrails for photos their team may add in the future.

Home page weight before and after:

Page WeightBeforeAfter% Change
Desktop25.41 MB3.61 MBDown 85.79%
Mobile12.07 MB3.62 MBDown 70.01%

Visualizing the improvements to loading speed:

Core Web Vitals Improvements:


Exploring the Golden State, One Story at a Time

Once Oomph was done, the Visit California site looked the same, but the load times were significantly faster, making the site more easily accessible to users. By devising a strategy to pull the same data using completely different methods, Oomph created a streamlined deployment process that was night and day for the Visit California team. 

The massive initiative involved 75,000 lines of code, 23 front-end templates, and plenty of collaboration, but the results were worth it: a noticeably faster site, a markedly less frustrating authoring experience, and page performance that would make any Californian proud.

From code to launch

4.5 mos.

Sites launched within a year


Performance improvement

350 %


A Fractured System

With a network of websites mired in old, outdated platforms, Rhode Island was already struggling to serve the communication needs of government agencies and their constituents. And then the pandemic hit.

COVID accelerated the demand for better, faster communication and greater efficiency amid the rapidly changing pandemic. It also spotlighted an opportunity to create a new centralized information hub. What the government needed was a single, cohesive design system that would allow departments to quickly publish and manage their own content, leverage a common and accessible design language, and use a central notification system to push shared content across multiple sites.

With timely, coordinated news and notifications plus a visually unified set of websites, a new design system could turn the state’s fragmented digital network into a trusted resource, especially in a time of crisis.


Custom Tools Leveraging Site Factory

A key goal was being able to quickly provision sites to new or existing agencies. Using Drupal 9 and Acquia’s Site Factory, we gave the state the ability to stand up a new site in just minutes. Batch commands create the site and add it to necessary syndication services; authors can then log in and start creating their own content.

We also created a set of custom tools for the state agencies, to facilitate content migration and distribution. An asynchronous hub-and-spoke syndication system allows sites to share content in a hierarchical manner (from parent to child sites), while a migration helper scrapes existing sites to ensure content is properly migrated from a database source.

Introducing Quahog: A RI.gov Design System

For organizations needing agility and efficiency, composable technology makes it easier to quickly adapt digital platforms as needs and conditions change. We focused on building a comprehensive, component-based visual design system using a strategy of common typography, predefined color themes and built-in user preferences to reinforce accessibility and inclusivity.

The Purpose of the Design System

The new, bespoke design system had to support four key factors: accessibility, user preferences, variation within a family of themes, and speedy performance.

Multiple color themes

Site authors choose from five color themes, each supporting light and dark mode viewing. Every theme was rigorously tested to conform with WCAG AA (and sometimes AAA), with each theme based on a palette of 27 colors (including grays) and 12 transparent colors.

User preferences

Site visitors can toggle between light or dark mode or use their own system preference, along with adjusting font sizes, line height, word spacing, and default language.

Mobile first

Knowing that many site visitors will be on mobile devices, each design component treats the mobile experience as a first-class counterpart to desktop.

Examples: The section menu sticks to the left side of the viewport for easy access within sections; Downloads are clearly labelled with file type and human-readable file sizes in case someone has an unreliable network connection; galleries appear on mobile with any text labels stacked underneath and support swipe gestures, while the desktop version layers text over images and supports keyboard navigation.

High Accessibility

Every design pattern is accessible for screen readers and mobile devices. Color contrast, keyboard navigation, semantic labelling, and alt text enforcement all contribute to a highly accessible site. Extra labels and help text have been added to add context to actions, while also following best practices for use of ARIA attributes.

Performance aware

Each page is given a performance budget, so design components are built as lightly as possible, using the least amount of code and relying on the smallest visual asset file sizes possible.


Efficient and Effective Paths to Communication

The first sites to launch on the new system, including covid.ri.gov, went live four and a half months after the first line of code was written. A total of 15 new sites were launched within just 8 months, all showing a 3-4x improvement in speed and performance compared with previous versions.

Every site now meets accessibility guidelines when authors adhere to training and best practices, with Lighthouse accessibility and best practice scores consistently above 95%. This means the content is available to a larger, more diverse audience. In addition, a WAF/CDN provider increases content delivery speeds and prevents downtime or slowdowns due to attacks or event-driven traffic spikes.

State agencies have been universally pleased with the new system, especially because it provides authors with an improved framework for content creation. By working with a finite set of tested design patterns, authors can visualize, preview, and deploy timely and consistent content more efficiently and effectively.

We were always impressed with the Oomph team’s breadth of technical knowledge and welcomed their UX expertise, however, what stood out the most to me was the great synergy that our team developed. All team members were committed to a common goal to create an exceptional, citizen-centered resource that would go above and beyond the technical and design expectations of both agencies and residents .

ROBERT MARTIN ETSS Web Services Manager, State of Rhode Island


While One Percent for America (OPA) had an admirable goal of helping eligible immigrants become U.S. citizens, the project faced a major stumbling block. Many immigrants had already been misled by various lending institutions, payday loans, or high-interest credit cards. As a result, the OPA platform would need a sense of trustworthiness and authority to shine through.

The platform also had to handle a broad array of tasks through a complex set of workflows, backstops, and software integrations. These tasks included delivering content, signing up users, verifying eligibility, connecting to financial institutions, managing loan data and investment balances, and electronically sending funds to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.


Given the challenges, our work began with a month-long discovery process, probing deeper into the audience, competitive landscape, customer journeys, and technological requirements for the platform. Here’s what we learned.

The Borrower Experience

Among those deep in the citizenship process and close to finishing the paperwork, many are simply waiting to have the funds to conclude their journey. For them, we designed as simple a workflow as possible to create an account, pass a security check, and apply for a loan.

Other users who are just starting the process need to understand whether they’re eligible for citizenship and what the process entails. We knew this would require smart, in-depth content to answer their questions and provide guidance — which was also a crucial component in earning their trust. Giving away genuinely helpful information, combined with carefully chosen language and photography, helped lend authenticity to OPA’s stated mission.

The Investor Experience

OPA sought to crowdfund capital from small investors, not institutions, creating a community-led funding source that could scale to meet borrowers’ needs. A key innovation is that funders can choose between two options: making tax-deductible donations or short-term loans.

If an investor makes a loan, at the end of the term they can decide to reinvest for another term, turn the money into a donation, or withdraw the funds. To reinforce the circular nature of the platform, we designed the experience so that borrowers could become investors themselves. The platform makes it easy for borrowers to change their intent and access different tools. Maturity dates are prominently displayed alongside “Lend Again” and “Donate” actions. Testimonials from borrowers on the dashboard reinforce the kinds of people who are helped by an investment.

The Mobile Experience

Our research made it clear the mobile experience had to be best in class, as many users would either prefer using a phone or didn’t have regular access to a tablet or computer. But, that didn’t mean creating a mobile app in addition to a desktop website. Instead, by designing a universal web app, we built a more robust experience — more powerful than most mobile apps — that can be used anywhere, on any device.

However, tasks like signing up for an account or applying for a loan need to be as easy on a mobile device as on a desktop. Key UX elements like step-by-step workflows, large touch targets, generous spacing on form fields, soft colors, and easy-to-read fonts produced a highly user-friendly interface.


Together with our technology partners, CraftsmanMotionpoint, and Platform.sh, we built an innovative digital platform that meets its users exactly where they are, from both a technological and cultural standpoint.

This groundbreaking work earned us a Gold Medal from the inaugural 2022 Anthem Awards, in the Innovation in Human and Civil Rights category. The award recognizes new techniques and services that advance communities and boost contributory funds.

In our ongoing partnership with OPA, Oomph will continue working to expand the business model with new features. We’re proud to have helped build this impactful resource to support the community of new Americans.


A Creative Beacon Sets a New Path

The RISD Museum is the 20th largest art museum in the United States with over 100,000 objects in its collection, including Ancient art, costumes, textiles, painting, sculpture, contemporary art, furniture, photography, and more. The museum occupies more than 72,000 square feet in three historic and two contemporary buildings along Providence’s bustling South Main Street and riverfront.

We often say that a website redesign is more like a collective therapy session — it’s an opportunity to air grievances in a safe space, to think about the future untethered to the present situation, and make decisions that could change the course of the organization. Since many websites are more than just a marketing platform, a redesign can affect the entire organization and the way they communicate their value to their own team and the world.

At the heart of this project were large, existential questions:

What does it mean to be a physical institution collecting physical objects in a digital world?

What do viewers want out of a museum experience in an interactive space?

Can a museum be more relaxed about how viewers will interpret the work?

Open Source the Museum’s Entire Collection

Behind the Museum’s initiative to re-platform the website from a closed system to an open source system like Drupal 8 was another, perhaps even larger, initiative: a plan to “open source” the museum’s entire collection. They will bring all 100,000 objects online (they have a little over 13,000 available prior to launch, a mere 13%) and use a Creative Commons license system that allows visitors to download and repurpose high-resolution images whenever the objects are in the public domain. This was the heart of the revolution upon which the RISD Museum was about to embark.


MuseumPlus & Drupal 8 equals Open Access

The heavy lift for our engineers was an integration with RISD’s museum software, MuseumPlus. MuseumPlus needed to continue to be the source of truth for any object, artist, or exhibition. The teams again collaborated extensively to work towards an API that could provide all the correct information

between the two databases, and a system of daily jobs and manual overrides to start a synchronization process. As the online connection grows, these connections will be the critical link between the public-facing object data and the internal records.

The aesthetics of the site became a structural backdrop for the objects, artwork, and images of people in the physical spaces of the museum.

Gray and white wireframes evolved into a black and white interface that kept information clear and clean while allowing the colors of the artwork to shine through. Language around the site’s architecture was simplified and tested for clarity. An element of time — words like Soon, Upcoming, Now, Ongoing, Past — keeps the visitor grounded around the idea of a physical visit, while open access to objects online serves a whole community of art lovers and historians that may never be able to visit in person.

A bold storytelling idea came out of our collective collaborative process — the homepage experience opens with four videos, a cinematic exterior shot and three interior videos that explore the three main sections of the navigation. The homepage becomes a gateway into the physical space. Choosing a path via the navigation takes the viewer inside to explore the spaces and the objects. Instead of a homepage that assumes a visitor wants to see everything and then choose something to explore deeper, this one introduces them to the content in a way that connects them to the physical space.


An Evolving Partnership

Site visit patterns have seen significant improvement — sessions per user and pages per session have increased while bounce rate has decreased. Thanks are due in part to the new hosting environment with Acquia, which has provided hefty speed increases and stability — page load times have decreased, server response time is significantly less, and page download time is far less as well.

As the RISD Museum grows their online collection even further, we have identified a backlog of ideas that we’d love to address, from a more fully featured search, an integrated audio guide, and a more open and collaborative way for users to share back what they have done with the museum’s assets. A new Drupal 8 implementation gives the museum plenty of room to grow virtually. The collaborative relationship between Oomph and the RISD Museum is only beginning.

Want to know a little more? — J. Hogue, Director of Design & UX at Oomph, and Jeremy Radtke, Assistant Director, Digital Initiatives, RISD Museum, gave a presentation at Design Week RI on September 20, 2018, all about the process of the redesign.

High-quality content management systems (CMS) and digital experience platforms (DXP) are the backbone of modern websites, helping you deliver powerful, personalized user experiences. The catch? You have to pick your platform first. 

At Oomph, we have a lot of love for open-source platforms like Drupal and WordPress. Over the years, we’ve also built applications for our clients using headless CMS tools, like Contentful and CosmicJS. The marketplace for these solutions continues to grow exponentially, including major players like Adobe Experience Manager, Sitecore, and Optimizely.

With so many options, developers and non-developers with a project on the horizon typically start by asking themselves, “Which CMS or DXP is the best fit for my website or application?” While that is no doubt an excellent question to consider, I think it’s equally important to ask, “Who is going to implement the solution?” 

CMS/DXP Solutions Are More Alike Than You Might Think

I recently attended the annual Healthcare Internet Conference and spoke with quite a few healthcare marketers about their CMS tools. I noticed a common thread: Many people think their CMS (some of which I mentioned above) is hard to use and doesn’t serve them well. 

That may very well be the case. Not all CMS tools are created equal; some are better suited for specific applications. However, most modern CMS and DXP tools have many of the same features in common, they just come at different price points. So here’s the multi-million dollar question: If most of these products provide access to the same or similar tools, why are so many customers displeased with them? 

Common Challenges of CMS/DXP Implementation

Often, we find that CMS users get frustrated because the tool they chose wasn’t configured to meet their specific needs. That doesn’t necessarily mean that it was set up incorrectly. That’s the beauty of many of today’s CMS and DXP products: They don’t take a one-size-fits-all approach. Instead, they allow for flexibility and customization to ensure that each customer gets the most out of the product.

While enticing, that flexibility also burdens the user with ensuring that their system is implemented effectively for their specific use case. In our experience, implementation is the make-or-break of a website development project. These are just a handful of things that can derail the process:

  1. The implementation partner didn’t fully understand how their client works and configure features accordingly.
  2. The demands of user experience overshadowed the needs of content editors and admins. 
  3. Hefty licensing fees ate away at the budget, leaving behind funds that don’t quite cover a thorough implementation. 
  4. The project was rushed to meet a tight deadline. 
  5. The CMS introduces new features over time that add complexity to the admin or editing experience. 
  6. Old features get sunsetted as new capabilities take their place. 

Most of the work we do at Oomph is to help our clients implement new websites and applications using content management systems like Drupal. We have decades of combined experience helping our clients create the ideal user experience for their target audience while also crafting a thoughtful content editing and admin experience that is easy to use.

But what does that look like in practice? 

4 Steps for a Successful CMS Implementation

Implementation can be the black box of setting up your CMS: You don’t know what you don’t know. So, we like to get our clients into a demo environment as soon as possible to help them better understand what they need from their CMS. Here’s how we use it to navigate successful CMS implementation: 

  1. Assess the Capabilities of the CMS

The first step can be the most simple at face value. Consider what the CMS needs to do for you, then find a CMS that includes all of those features. Content modeling (more on that below) is a key part of that process, but so is auditing your team’s abilities. 

Some teams may be developer-savvy and can handle less templated content-authoring features. Others may need a much more drag-and-drop experience. Either use case is normal and acceptable, but what matters is that you identify your needs and find both a CMS and an implementation process that meets them. That leads us to the next point.

  1. Test-Drive the CMS Early and Often

You wouldn’t buy a car without test-driving it first. Yet we find that people are often more than willing to license a CMS without looking under the hood.

Stepping into the CMS for a test drive is a huge part of getting the content editing experience right. We’ve been designing and engineering websites and platforms using CMS tools for well over a decade, and we’ve learned a thing or two along the way about good content management and editing experiences. 

Even with out-of-the-box, vanilla Drupal, the sky’s the limit for how you can configure it. But that also means that nothing is configured, and it can be difficult to get a sense of how best to configure and use it. Rather than diving into the deep end, we work with our clients to test the waters. We immediately set up a project sandbox that offers pre-configured content types, allowing you to enter content and play with a suite of components within the sleek drag-and-drop interface.

  1. Align User Experience with Content Authoring

Beyond pre-configured content and components, our sandbox sites include a stylish, default theme. The idea is to give you a taste both of what your live site could look like and what your content authoring experience might be. Since so many teams struggle to balance those two priorities, this can be a helpful way to figure out how your CMS can give you both. 

  1. Finalize Your Features & Capabilities 

While a demo gives you a good idea of the features you’ll need, it might include features you don’t. But discovering where our pre-built options aren’t a good fit is a good thing — it helps us understand exactly what YOUR TEAM does and does not need.

Our goal is to give you something tangible to react to, whether that’s love at first type or a chance to uncover capabilities that would serve you better. We’ve found this interactive yet structured process is the CMS silver bullet that leads to a better outcome. 

Content Modeling

Another key part of our project workflow is what we call content modeling. During this phase, we work with you to identify the many content types you’ll have on your website or application. Then, we can visualize them in a mapping system to determine things like: 

With a solid content model in place, we can have a higher level of confidence that our CMS implementation will create the right content editing experience for your team. From there, we actually implement the content model in the CMS as soon as possible so that you can test it out and we can make refinements before getting too far along in the process.

Content Moderation & Governance

Many clients tell us they either have too much or too little control over their content. In some cases, their content management system is so templated or rigid that marketing teams can’t quickly spin up landing pages and instead have to rely on development teams to assist. Other teams have too much freedom, allowing employees to easily deploy content that hasn’t been approved by the appropriate team members or strays from company brand standards. 

Here at Oomph, our mantra is balance. A good content editing process needs both flexibility and governance, so teams can create content when they need to, but avoid publishing content that doesn’t meet company standards. Through discovery, we work with clients to determine which content types need flexibility and which ones don’t. 

If a content type needs to be flexible, we create a framework that allows for agility while still ensuring that users can only select approved colors, font types, and font sizes. We also identify which content needs to be held in moderation and approved before it can be published on the website. 

Taking the time to discuss governance in advance creates a CMS experience that strikes the right balance between marketing freedom and brand adherence. 

Implementation Turns a Good CMS Into a Great One

Modern CMS/DXP solutions have mind-blowing features, and they will only continue to get more complex over time. But the reality is that while picking a CMS that has the features you need is important, how it’s configured and implemented might matter even more. After all, how helpful is it to have a CMS with embedded artificial intelligence if making simple copy updates to your home page is a nightmare? 

Implementation is the “it” factor that makes the difference between a CMS you love and one you’d rather do your job without.

Interested in solving your CMS headaches with better implementation? Let’s talk.

“If you don’t make it accessible, it won’t be usable.”

Accessibility was in the air at Drupal GovCon 2023. The topic dominated during conference sessions and attendee conversations alike — not surprising, given its importance for municipalities and governments.   

Users have the same expectations for government websites that they do for any other brand’s site: simple, secure, and accessible user experiences that render well on any device. Much of the content at this year’s GovCon focused on the knowledge, tools, and services government teams need to create accessible sites ( and the challenges that can arise along the way). 

Over three days in Bethesda, Maryland, 600 designers, developers, and other Drupal pros working in government gathered to learn, improve, and innovate. We were lucky to be among them this year. 

Here, we pull back the curtain on what we learned, who we met, and what we’re excited to put into action now that we’re home.  

But First, Why Do We Attend Drupal GovCon? 

Drupal GovCon combines two passions for Oomph: immersing ourselves in all things Drupal and helping our government clients create websites that are truly built for the people. We attended this year’s event to:

During the event, we networked with fellow developers, squeezed our way into plenty of jam-packed sessions, and presented our own session on accessibility audits. All the while, we looked for opportunities to build upon the Drupal work Oomph has already done for governments and municipalities like RI.gov.

Oomph Presents: The Many Shapes and Sizes of Accessibility Audits

“All websites are not created equal. And neither are accessibility audits.” 

That’s our accessibility philosophy, and it’s also the opening line from our session, which was part of GovCon’s accessibility track. Many attendees hadn’t conducted an accessibility audit before, so this session focused on the basics: what to audit, what tools to use, and actionable deliverables digital teams can use for auditing and implementation. 

Roughly 25 attendees joined to learn key considerations like: 

To dive deeper, check out our roundup of accessibility resources here. 

Our Must-Watch Drupal GovCon Sessions

Like all Drupal events, GovCon packed a lot of learning into just three days. While there were insights aplenty in every session we attended, these are the ones to watch from start to finish (or rewatch, in our case). 

Automating Accessibility Testing With DubBot

This session was both pragmatic and inspiring. Presenter Jesse Dyck of Evolving Web started by reminding us all that accessibility is how we ensure truly equal access to information — a key tenet of government communications. 

He then explained how tools like DubBot, an automated testing tool, can perform accessibility testing, provide quality assurance, and even take the pulse on your SEO efforts. Beyond the how-tos, Jesse also offered his own best practices for identifying and managing key data points. 

Navigating the Digital Realm: A Journey Through the Eyes of a Screen Reader User

Amid all the tools and tech, it’s sometimes easy to forget that we’re innovating for people who use assistive devices to access critical information. Matthew Elefant, managing director at Inclusive Web, conducted a live demonstration of how blind and visually impaired people navigate the internet. The session brought a powerful human lens to the challenges people with disabilities face any time they get online when Chris, a tester working with Matthew, remotely walked through his experiences and challenges often including navigating websites with a screen reader. 

Matthew reminded us that accessible websites aren’t necessarily usable and recommended some key opportunities to bridge that gap. 

Editoria11y v2: Building a Drupal-Integrated Accessibility Checker

John Jameson designed Editoria11y v1 to meet an important Drupal need: a robust yet intuitive disability checker. During this session, John walked through his wishlist for Editoria11y v2 — check more complex HTML code and enable users to dismiss non-critical alerts, among others — and explained how he engineered each one (spoiler alert: a long list of mentors). 

His session affirmed the innovative and supportive power of the Drupal community and taught us some of his most effective techniques for building complex web applications. 

Honorable Mention: How AI Works and How We Can Leverage It

Artificial intelligence (AI) is the talk of the tech world, but it’s a bit of a sticky subject for governments and municipalities. Though AI can introduce efficiencies, it can also compromise compliance in the highly regulated public sector. 

Michael Scmid offered some real-world ways to use AI, like training a language learning model (LLM) (think ChatGPT) or generating images — all with a focus on how those tools fit into a decoupled architecture like Drupal. This session is a great watch for anyone interested in understanding options for how to set up your own LLM.

Building Community at GovCon

Year after year, Drupal continues to shine because of the community it builds. At GovCon, we deepened long-held connections and formed some exciting new ones. We even got to meet one of our favorite contractors in person. 

GovCon also echoed many of the conversations our Oomphers are already having. The conference’s timing couldn’t have been better: We brought many of the ideas shared to our recent Squad Summit (our “squads” are dedicated groups of designers, developers, and engineers who serve our clients). Together, our squad explored ways to incorporate emerging accessibility tools into our work and deepened our resolve to build a Web that works for everybody.  

Let’s Talk GovCon

Attended GovCon and can’t get enough of the accessibility conversation? Couldn’t make it but want to brainstorm about how you can put these insights into action on your website? 

Let’s talk about it.


Kathy Beck

Senior UX Engineer

Hi, I’m Kathy, and I’ve been working with Drupal for over 10 years. As a UX Engineer here at Oomph, I am focused on front-end development and site building and I collaborate with the back-end engineering team and the design team. I am constantly thinking about accessibility and test solutions in multiple browsers as well as screen readers and automated tools.

Julie Elman

Senior Digital Project Manager

As a Digital Project Manager at Oomph, my main responsibilities include building and maintaining client relationships, managing projects, and collaborating with our talented development and creative teams to execute and deliver top-quality projects.

What’s been holding you back from migrating your website off of Drupal 7?

Maybe your brand is juggling other digital projects that have pushed your migration to the back burner. Maybe the platform has been working well enough that migration isn’t really on the radar. Or maybe (no shame here) you’ve been overwhelmed by such a massive undertaking and you’re feeling a little like Michael Scott:

Michael Scott, a character from NBC’s show The Office, says
“I don’t wanna work. I just want to bang on this mug all day.”

We get it. Whether you’re migrating to a new version of Drupal or a different platform, it’s a time-consuming process — which means now is definitely the time to get started.

While the Drupal Security Team recently announced it would extend security coverage for Drupal 7 from November 2023 to January 2025, those extra 14 months are ideally the time to plan and execute a thoughtful migration. Giving yourself ample time to plan for life after Drupal 7 is something Oomph has been recommending for a while now, and we’re here to help you through it.

3 Reasons To Start Your Drupal 7 Migration Now

1. Because Migration Takes Time

Migrating your site isn’t as simple as flipping a switch — and the more complex your site is, the more time it can take. Imagine two boats changing course in the water: It takes a massive container ship longer to turn than a small fishing boat. If your site is highly complex or has a lot of pages, it could easily take a year to fully migrate (not including the time it takes to select a partner to manage the process and kick off the work).

Even if your site isn’t so robust, you’ll do yourself a favor by building in a time buffer. Otherwise, you could risk facing a security gap if you run into complications that slow the process down. Some of the major factors that can impact timeline include:

2. Your Site Performance Is Less Than Ideal

Yes, Drupal 7 sites technically have security coverage until 2025. But if you’re still on Drupal 7, you’re missing out on the best that Drupal currently has to offer.

First, Drupal 7 is not fully compatible with PHP 8, a new and improved version of PHP that many websites are built on today. While Drupal 7’s core supports PHP 8, some contributed modules or themes on your site might not, which could create hiccups in your site performance.

In addition, the Drupal community is constantly putting out new features that aren’t available on Drupal 7. Some of the most exciting ones include:

Sticking with Drupal 7 means not only missing out on this new functionality, but also on support from the Drupal community. Interest and activity from web devs on Drupal 7 continues to wane, which means your team may find it harder to get help from others to deal with bugs or other issues. You’re also likely to see fewer new features that are compatible with the older version – so while other sites can keep up with the evolving digital landscape, a Drupal 7 site is increasingly stuck in the past.

3. To Save Your Team’s Sanity

Odds are good that if your site is still running on Drupal 7, your team is already having trouble trying to make it work for your needs. Starting your migration now is key to getting your site running as smoothly as soon as possible — and sparing your team from unnecessary misery.

Consider these pain points and how your team can address them in your migration:

Options for Life After Drupal 7

Now that Drupal 7 is officially winding down, what’s next for your website? Deciding whether to go Drupal-to-Drupal, Drupal to another CMS, or a different route entirely depends on your technical needs and resources.

Drupal 10

If Drupal 7 has served your team well in the past, then Drupal 10 is the logical choice. The newest version of Drupal is ideal for more complex sites with extensive content modeling, varying user roles, and workflow requirements. To make things easier, you can leapfrog over Drupal 8 and 9 and migrate your Drupal 7 site directly to the latest and greatest version.

Many of our clients at Oomph are going this route, since Drupal 10 offers both a range of new features and familiarity for Drupal-versed teams to cut down on the post-migration learning curve.

WordPress or Another CMS

Not sure if Drupal 10 is the best fit? If your site is on the small side or if you don’t require lots of functionality, then Drupal may be more than you really require.

In that case, moving off of Drupal altogether might be in your best interests, helping you streamline your ongoing development needs and reduce maintenance and hosting costs. Here are a few alternatives for Drupal 7 users looking for a less robust platform without sacrificing a great web presence:

An Internal Stopgap

Depending on your organization, now might not be a good time to migrate or rebuild your site. This is especially true if you’re already invested in an ongoing site redesign or rebuild. If you’re still trying to figure out your digital future, consider temporary measures you can take to stay protected once Drupal 7’s security coverage ends.

One possibility to consider is rolling up your site under another digital property in your organization. Even if it’s only an interim solution, it can help you buy time to make the best long-term plan for your website. Another option would be to develop a smaller static website with a refreshed design that would eventually be replaced with the upgraded CMS.

Tips for a Successful Migration

As your site’s technical foundation, Drupal delivers plenty of horsepower. However, the digital home you build on that foundation is what really counts. It’s crucially important to make sure all the pieces of your site work together as one — and a migration is a perfect opportunity to assess and optimize.

Over time, websites tend to accumulate “cruft” — the digital equivalent of dust and cobwebs. Cruft can take many forms: outdated, unnecessary, or poorly written code; deprecated site features; or obsolete or outdated content, files, and data. Whatever cruft exists on your site, migration is a chance to do some digital spring cleaning that can improve site performance and reduce maintenance time.

Beyond digital hygiene, evaluating each element of your site strategically can help you get the greatest business value from your migration.

No matter what you plan to tackle alongside your migration, it’s a big project. An experienced guide can make all the difference. Our team of die-hard Drupal enthusiasts has led many Drupal-to-Drupal and replatforming projects for clients, including complex e-commerce and intranet sites. For us, a successful migration is one that’s grounded in strategy, follows technical best practices, and — most importantly — can support and evolve with your brand over time.

Need a hand deciding which route to take for your Drupal 7 migration? We’d love to talk.

When I first discovered Drupal, it was love at first click. I was fascinated by how easy it was to build powerful websites and digital platforms with its free, open source tools.

One of the things that attracted me to the Drupal community from the beginning was its commitment to giving back. Every line of code, module, and feature created with this open source content management system is available for anyone to use – and there’s nothing Drupal enthusiasts love more than turning other devs into Drupal converts. Drupal is a community-driven movement focused on ensuring that everyone can tap into its potential.

I’ve been involved with Drupal for 16 years (my experience can officially drive a car now!). Throughout the years, I’ve had the opportunity to attend DrupalCon and actively contribute to Drupal through my work at Oomph. As an agency, Oomph has given back to the community by sponsoring the annual New England Drupal Camp; hosting the monthly Providence Drupal Meetup; developing new modules like Oomph ParagraphsShared Field Display SettingsLayout Section Fields; and supporting the Talking Drupal Podcast.

On a personal level, I’ve always wanted to do more for Drupal, but it’s not always easy to find the time when you spend your days building digital platforms and your nights convincing your energetic 3-year-old to go to bed. While many people contribute their time and expertise by developing code or modules, finding the time for those contributions has been challenging for me.

In my search for ways to give back, I discovered mentoring. My decision to become a mentor was driven by a desire to share my knowledge and experiences with others and help them navigate the Drupal world.

I also had an ulterior motive: I want others to fall in love with open-source software just as I did. By fostering a passion for Drupal and open source in general, we can ensure our community continues to thrive and flourish. For those just beginning to explore open source, the Open Source Utopia Podcast and this talk from DrupalCon 2023 are great intros to the topic (warning: you might get hooked!).

Becoming a Drupal mentor has been an incredibly fulfilling experience, allowing me to give back without sacrificing work-life balance and witness the growth of aspiring web developers. If you’re a Drupal power user eager to give back or an emerging developer looking for mentoring support, I’ve got you covered. Here’s what I’ve learned over the first year of my mentoring journey. Drupal Easy

Drupal Easy is a platform that offers training programs for people who want to become Drupal developers. Their courses provide the knowledge and skills to excel in Drupal.

During their training, DrupalEasy students get helpful resources and a designated mentor (that could be you!) who acts as a direct line to all things Drupal. As a mentor, you’ll be there to help them overcome any challenges.

As part of my mentoring experience, I volunteered to help with the DrupalEasy program. It’s been satisfying to help students learn about the ins and outs of Drupal – and seeing their enthusiasm and talent makes me excited for the future of the community.

Discover Drupal

Discover Drupal is a fantastic initiative providing individuals from underrepresented groups with the opportunity to learn Drupal and kickstart their careers in web development.

The program guides users through various training programs, culminating in a trip to DrupalCon. It’s an incredible experience for these developers, as it feels like a graduation ceremony where they get to meet and connect with everyone in the Drupal community.

Something that sets Discover Drupal apart is the hands-on mentorship and education they provide for each student; weekly office hours bring students and mentors together in a collaborative environment, while regular workshops go deeper on specific areas students (and mentors) need to know. As a mentor, I supported and guided my mentee through the program, helping her succeed and nurturing her love for all things Drupal.

My mentee, Cindy Garcia, had been working in agencies doing WordPress development but found Drupal much more appealing. She resonated with Drupal’s mission and brought a unique perspective and passion to the community. (Fun fact: Cindy was a wrestling referee and an award-winning martial artist!)

We began our 1-1s by meeting twice weekly, gradually transitioning to once a week as Cindy grew more comfortable with Drupal. She drove the agenda, and I was there to help her solve any challenges she encountered. We started with the basics, such as making a view work within Drupal. I walked her through the process and guided her to ensure she grasped the concepts effectively.

As our mentoring relationship evolved, we delved into more complex technical topics. Cindy would come to me with specific questions about modules or code she was working on. It became a form of paired programming, where we would analyze her code together, troubleshooting and finding solutions collaboratively.

Most bootcamps are designed to teach you only basic concepts that can take years to master, says Cindy. But with Discover Drupal, Cindy was able to build four Drupal websites and had two contribution credits within a year.“I really felt the Discover Drupal program hit their benchmarks when it came to training new developers,” Cindy says. “It gave me a new career to look forward to and a great community to plug into when I am facing problems I can’t solve on my own.”

The most rewarding part of this mentoring experience for me? Meeting Cindy in person at DrupalCon and celebrating her achievements together. I can’t wait to watch how her career unfolds from here.

Volunteering at DrupalCon

In addition to meeting Cindy face to face, I also had the chance to give back at DrupalCon 2023.

Each year, DrupalCon hosts a “Contribution Day,” where attendees are invited to spend the day contributing their expertise — including coding, documentation, translation, graphic design, and more — to issues they’re passionate about. It’s a fantastic opportunity to contribute to the ever-expanding Drupal resource base in a meaningful way. True to its mission of inclusion, Drupal encourages first-time contributors to participate to ensure everyone has a chance to make a difference.

I had the chance to support the first-time contributors workshop, working alongside volunteers and other mentors to ideate and build in real time. We collaborated, shared knowledge, and helped newcomers navigate their first steps into the Drupal contribution space. The feeling of making a real impact and empowering others was so gratifying — I’m already eager to head back for DrupalCon 2024.

My Biggest Takeaway? There’s Room for Everyone in Drupal

As I transitioned from Drupal user to Drupal mentor this year, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of fear and uncertainty at first. I questioned whether I needed more knowledge or experience to make a meaningful contribution.

However, I quickly discovered everyone in the Drupal community is incredibly supportive and genuinely wants to help others succeed. I’m so glad I didn’t let self-doubt hold me back.

Mentoring is not about having all the answers or being the smartest person in the room. It’s about sharing your experiences, insights, and guiding others through their Drupal journey. By offering support and encouragement, you can have a powerful effect on someone’s career trajectory.

The Drupal community is built on collaboration and mutual support. We’re all on this journey together, constantly learning and evolving.

If you’re interested in getting involved, check out Drupal’s resources on mentoring with Drupal Easy and Discover Drupal,. Hope to see you out there on the mentoring journey!

We are thrilled to share that our client, Lifespan, has been named to the Nielsen Norman Group 2023 list of the ten best employee intranets in the world. Award winners are recognized worldwide for their leadership in defining the field of UX. NN/g is dedicated to improving the everyday experience of using technology. The company has evaluated thousands of websites and applications and consulted for leading brands in virtually every industry since 2001 to select the 10 best intranets annually.

A Collaborative Process

Lifespan collaborated with our team on strategy, stakeholder management, UX research, UI design, and development. We developed the intranet’s information architecture and prototyped and tested tablet versions of the mobile intranet. Our engineering team conducted a technical discovery and completed the full intranet development, which included the intranet’s custom features and integrations. The result was an intranet that met employees’ personal needs while building a sense of community across Lifespan’s large organization.

“It’s wonderful to see the culmination of so much research, feedback, conversation, and collaboration be recognized and placed among some of the best brands in the world,” said Oomph’s Director of Design & UX, J. Hogue. “This intranet required 18 months of employee-focused strategy, research, design, testing, and development with the latest technology, security best practices, and accessibility design. The result supports employees and positive patient outcomes across the hospital system. We are intensely proud of the tailored approach the teams used to create a digital experience that reflects Lifespan’s company culture.”

Helping to Connect a Remote Workforce

Lifespan is a digital workplace, and the intranet is the hub that connects employees to the hundreds of digital tools and resources they need to deliver health with care every day. Most of Lifespan’s 16,000+ employees use the intranet on a daily basis to complete their work tasks, find information about benefits, and/or read the latest news. The intranet routinely sees more than 1M page views each month. Physicians, nurses, allied professionals, and clinical support staff often use the intranet to access policies and job tools that are critical for patient care and often needed immediately. Administrative support staff rely on the intranet to access information and third-party tools that are critical to such business operations as purchasing, finance, materials management/supply chain operations, and facilities maintenance to name a few. For all users, the intranet is a central hub for department information, professional education and training, news and events, the staff directory, HR and payroll information, digital tools request services throughout the organization (both clinical and administrative), and remote access to email. Most importantly, the intranet provides a place where employees can learn what’s happening across the Lifespan system and at each individual affiliate location.

“The team responded to the importance of communication and connectedness and used those themes as the guiding strategy when redesigning the intranet. They made it more accessible, user-friendly, and contemporary, thanks to their vision, planning, and execution,” said Lifespan Senior Vice President, Marketing and Communications, Jane Bruno. “Winning this award is a testament to the hard work of Lifespan’s marketing and communications and information services teams, and their collaboration with Lifespan’s digital design and development partner, Oomph.”

There’s no doubt that all of us at Oomph are extremely proud of the outcome as well and it’s even more gratifying to work side-by-side with an organization that’s so committed to improving the employee experience. After an award-winning collaboration like this, we look forward to continuing our partnership in the years to come.

More information about the 2023 winners is on the NN/g website. The winning intranets are also featured in the NN/g’s publication, Intranet Design Annual 2023: Year’s 10 Best Intranets. The publication includes a detailed case study on Lifespan’s intranet project and the vision, working methods, and management strategies underpinning its success.

Past recipients of the top 10 intranet award include BNY Mellon, Korn Ferry, The United Nations, Barclays, 3M, The Estée Lauder Companies Inc., International Business Machines Corporation (IBM), Princeton University, and JetBlue.

Interested in learning more about Oomph’s award-winning work? Take a look at some of our favorite projects and see how we make a difference for clients nationwide.

The full press release can be found at: https://www.lifespan.org/news/lifespan-named-top-10-best-intranets-world-nielsen-norman-group-nng