A job well done, as they say, is its own reward. At Oomph, we believe that’s true. But on the other hand, awards are pretty nice, too. And we’ve just won a big one: Oomph was named a winner of a 2022 Engage Award by digital platform experience provider Acquia for our work designing and building the platform that powers many of the websites operated by the state of Rhode Island.

Oomph won Leader of the Pack – Public Sector, in the Doers category, recognizing organizations that are setting the bar for digital experiences in their field or industry.

The award-winning project (see more in this case study) began with the goal of creating a new design system for the public-facing sites of Rhode Island’s government organizations, such as the governor’s office and the Office of Housing and Community Development. Oomph’s work on the sites, which began launching in December 2020, helped Rhode Island improve communications by developing common design elements and styles that appeared consistently across all the websites and by providing each agency the same tools and capabilities to keep their sites up to date and functioning at their best.

We’d Like to Thank…

The appreciation for the project has been especially satisfying for Rhode Island ETSS Web Services Manager Robert W. Martin, who oversaw it on the client side. “We are extremely proud to receive such recognition,” he says. “This accomplishment could not have happened without the public-private partnership between the State of Rhode Island, NIC RI, Oomph, and Acquia. Through the Oomph team’s high level of engagement, we were able to deliver the entire platform on time, on quality, and on budget, all during a global pandemic. A truly remarkable achievement!”

Folks have been excited on the Oomph side as well. “It’s an honor, really, and recognition of an excellent team effort,” says Jack Hartman, head of delivery with Oomph. “We went into this project knowing we were introducing the team to powerful new technologies such as Acquia Site Factory. Our successful delivery of the new platform for Rhode Island is a testament to Acquia feeling that we’ve not only utilized their services, but modeled how they feel their products can best be put to use in bringing value to their clients.”

A Remarkable Collaboration

Martin is quick to credit the project’s success to the Oomph team’s hard work, expertise and commitment to collaboration. He explains: “We were always impressed with Oomph’s breadth of technical knowledge and welcomed their UX expertise. However, what stood out the most to me was the great synergy that our teams developed.”

In keeping with that spirit of synergy, Hartman also is proud of how the teams came together to get the job done. “We’re all quite transparent communicators and effective collaborators. Those two attributes allowed us to successfully navigate the vast number of stakeholders and agency partners that were involved from the beginning to the end,” he says.

Planning for the Unplannable

A particular challenge no one foresaw in the early stages of the project was the COVID-19 pandemic. Though it wasn’t part of the initial strategy, the team quickly realized that due to COVID-19, they needed to change course and focus on COVID-related sites first, which made it possible to tap into COVID relief funding for the project overall.

“Our first site to roll out on the new platform was Rhode Island’s COVID-19 response communication hub,” says Hartman. “It added an extra layer of both seriousness and excitement knowing that we were building a critical resource for the people of Rhode Island as they navigated a really unpredictable pandemic scenario.”

The Future of Digital Infrastructure

Of course, even with the added responsibility and challenge of a global pandemic, this project already had plenty of excitement and investment from the Oomph team. “It’s not often that a team’s full time and focus is secured to work on a single initiative, and this engagement was very much that,” Hartman says. “A group of highly skilled craftspeople with the singular focus of laying the groundwork for the future of a state’s digital infrastructure.”

Of course, all the internal excitement in the world doesn’t count for much if the end product doesn’t land with its audience, and in this case, the new sites were a resounding success. As the sites launched, they quickly met with approval from those who use the sites most: Rhode Island’s government agencies and the state’s citizens.

“Agencies have been extremely enthusiastic and excited for both the design and functionality of their new sites,” Martin says. “Some of the most common points of appreciation included the availability of content authoring and workflow approvals, flexible layout and content components, multiple color themes, support for ‘dark mode’ and other user customizations, multiple language support, system-wide notification alert capability, and a wide range of other features all available without the need for custom coding or advanced technical knowledge.”

According to Martin, the platform has been a hit with Rhode Island’s people as well. He says, “We have received very positive, unsolicited feedback from citizens around the state regarding their new RI State government websites.”

He adds, “Being named the winner of the Leader of the Pack – Public Sector in the 2022 Acquia Engage Awards is proof positive that we’re on track towards achieving our service delivery goals.”

One More Trophy for the Case

Of course, with a big project like this, there’s always plenty to learn. Hartman points to the process of migrating the state’s vast trove of legacy content to the new sites as a key area that will inform future client work.

But enough lessons: for now, the team is celebrating the big win.

“Our fearless leader Chris Murray attended the awards ceremony in Miami,” Hartman says. “We have an awards wall at the office where we display everything we’ve won from design accolades to this prestigious award. I have no doubt the Acquia Award will be there the next time I visit the office.”

And after redesigning the entire web presence for Rhode Island’s many state agencies and completely revamping how the state communicates with its citizens, surely the Oomph team are now honorary members of Rhode Island’s government?

“Absolutely,” Hartman laughs. “And as my first initiative as a member of this great state’s government, I’ll be bringing the PawSox back to the Bucket!


Interested in learning more about Oomph’s award-winning work? We don’t blame you. View more of our case studies to see how we make a difference for clients nationwide.