State Website Platform

Medium

What is it? 

  • The State Website Platform provides a content management system that allows non-development users the ability to create structured website content.
  • Provides a similar look and feel for North Dakota citizens to have a better chance to navigate through agency websites.
  • Provides a low-cost communication and marketing platform for agencies.
  • Reduces repeat tasks for maintaining security updates to agencies public communication digital platform.
  • Allows for a more maintainable solution to agency website needs.

What do you get with the service? 

  • Multiple content page types for agency.
  • Basic Page, Homepage, Landing Page, Map, Events, News, Photo Gallery.
  • Multiple content widgets that can be placed to build the content in a presentable manner.
    • Text editor (WYSIWYG), accordions, videos, PeopleSoft careers feeds, and more.
  • Pre-built displays for news and events items.
    • Includes an Events Calendar.
  • Theme settings control proper branding.
    • State branded elements and theme layout.
    • Responsive theme.
    • Configurable footer and site menu.
  • Social website integrations.
    • Provide links directly to your social media accounts.
    • Can display Twitter and Facebook feeds.
    • Can share directly to Facebook or Twitter any news or events page.
  • Google analytics integrations.
    • NDIT sets up basic google analytics under the enterprise account.
      • Utilizes Google Analytics default display settings.
    • If agency has their own google analytics you only need to update the site with the tracking tag.
  • Accessibility scanning integration.
  • Built-in meta tag administration with default values for better Search Engine Optimization.
  • Directly utilizes Google search on the website to control results based on Google custom search console.
  • Language localization with multiple languages supported.
  • Administration interfaces to help with managing 404 reports, internal redirects, files, and taxonomy categories used throughout the site.
  • Basic contact us form and Basic Feedback form.
  • JotForms Integration.
  • Can add JotForms to individual pages on the website.
  • Learn more about JotForms by visiting the service page.
  • Various accessibility measures to help with assisted web browsing.
  • Content moderation system for expanded workflow.
  • ND.Gov Active Directory login support.
  • Limited to nd.gov email accounts.
  • Utilizes ND.GOV login and email.
  • Must be on vpn to login to website.
  • AD groups are assigned during site creation.
  • Users can self-manage via ServiceNow.

Services not included on the State Website Platform:

  • Major theme reworks.
    • Custom Menu.
  • Requiring unique modules to solve business problems.
  • Integrations into specific application systems not listed above that are beyond SWP limitations.
  • Customizations to the file system.
  • E-commerce derived from content management system.

How do you request service? 

NDIT’s Self Service Portal may be used to submit an “Initiative Intake” service request.

Billing: 

  • Included in Service:
    • No hosting costs.
    • Initial training free of charge for content administrators, managers, and contributors of the site.
    • Generic Application version updates are applied for no cost.
    • Generic Application security updates are applied for no cost.
    • Ongoing support for features and functionality within the platform.
    • Ongoing accessibility updates applied to the platform regularly.
  • Additional Fee:
    • Enterprise solutions integrated with the platform may incur additional fees.
      • For example:
        • Monsido.
        • Jotforms.
        • Google Analytics.
        • Others.
    • Content design and services:
    • Limited content automation.

Custom Developer Add-on (price determined through estimate):

  • Dynamic content displays based on unique business cases.
  • Minor custom theme elements outside of what is provided within state website platform base offering.
  • Integrations into specific application systems not listed above with limitations.
  • Custom digital forms.
  • Custom content types outside of state website platform base offering.

 

Why do we need a statewide website platform?

Without a common platform:

  • Website creation and maintenance is resource-intensive, leaving many agencies without the financial and staffing resources to upgrade their websites.
  • Resources invested in individual sites do not benefit the enterprise, leading to redundant spending and duplicate effort.
  • The use of multiple content management systems (CMS) and versions with a limited overall patching strategy poses a cybersecurity risk.
  • Drastically different theming and structure across state websites provide a less than desired and inconsistent experience for government-citizen interaction.

A common platform:

  • Enables agencies to have modern, feature-rich websites for a fraction of the current cost
  • Allows agencies to craft their own identity while still maintaining an overall state brand across sites. This is done by standardizing certain website elements while giving agencies control over other elements
  • Consists of a single code base that is continually patched and improved. Since each site on the platform uses the same code base, any resources invested in the platform benefit every site
  • Is built on an open-source content management system, Drupal, which eliminates licensing fees, benefits from an open-source community and provides opportunities for vendor support, if desired

A Few Example Sites

Medium
Features and OnBoarding

Self-Service

Unlike a traditional custom website, where a request must be sent to IT for changes, you have a broad range of control to customize your site colors, content, and content layout. We achieve much of this flexibility through the use of "Drupal Paragraphs," which are like building blocks you arrange to build pages that fit your users' needs. Current Paragraphs (building blocks) include:

  • Accordion: Expandable accordions let users expand/collapse information to create clean pages without too much scrolling
  • Card: Provides a simple, emphasized display to draw attention to a piece of content. Provides the ability to add an image to allow content to really stand out.
  • Career Feed: Automatically display your open jobs using our integration with PeopleSoft.
  • Event and News Feeds: Allows you to display upcoming news and events that have been posted to your site for an easier user experience.
  • Image: Insert individual images, add a slideshow, or even add interactive 360 degree images.
  • JotForm: Allows you to easily add a JotForm that has been developed by you, or for you.
  • Video: Either upload videos directly to the site or embed them from Youtube.
  • Social Feed: Twitter and Facebook feeds display your most recent social media posts.
  • WYSIWYG:  This fun acronym stands for What you See is What you Get.  A WYSIWYG (pronounced wiz - E - wig) is a powerful text editor, like Microsoft Word, that allows you to add and edit text without knowing how to code.

Top Features

  • Secure: Websites are like any other software, they need to be regularly patched to remain secure. With the platform, we take care of that for you. We'll ensure your site is up-to-date with all relevant security patches.
  • Continually Improving: The platform is always growing and improving, and whenever we make an improvement, every site on the platform gets that improvement.
  • Mobile-Friendly: A "responsive design" means that sites automatically resize and reorient themselves to work on any device, includes computers, phones, and tablets. 
  • Accessible: Sites are WCAG 2.0 AA compliant, as well as compliant with all state website standards. 
  • ND.gov URL: The monthly rate includes a secure (https), unique URL under the nd.gov domain (e.g. www.nd.gov/itd and www.nd.gov/auditor). Agencies that require a 3rd level, or subdomain (e.g. www.parkrec.nd.gov and www.attorneygeneral.nd.gov), may incur an additional cost for a security certificate. 
  • Customizable: Although each site shares a common code base, they don't need to look the same. The platform includes a certain amount of customization that allows agencies to craft an identity while still remaining consistent with an overall theme. 
  • Embed External Content: Drupal plays nice with embedded content from other services. For example, you can create an interactive map using a 3rd party, like Google or Bing, and embed the map on your website. 
  • Contact Us and Feedback Forms: Each site comes with "Contact Us" and "Feedback" webforms that allow viewers to securely submit feedback or ask questions.

Not included

  • eCommerce: The platform does not include e-commerce functionality; however, sites can be customized to meet eCommerce requirements.
  • Custom Webforms:  Custom data collection functionality and online forms will be evaluated individually. Development for custom forms will be billed hourly at standard NDIT rates. 

Customizations

The platform is based on the simple idea that if all websites use the same code base, any enhancements made to that base can be automatically pushed to every website on the platform. When we update the code, every site is updated as well so all sites stay in sync and receive any enhancements and bug fixes.

This approach reduces overall state spending on websites, removes the burden from agencies to patch their sites on a one-off basis, and improves the enterprise security posture. It also means that certain features cannot be customized on individuals sites. For example, the styling (CSS), modules, and page templates cannot be adjusted on a one-off basis.

If the base platform does not meet agency needs, certain custom elements can be created. For example, some sites have custom online forms and others automatically import data from external sources. 

In all cases, there is a risk of increased ongoing cost as the customizations must be accounted for during each patch.

Customizations will be evaluated, built, and billed individually. To start the process, submit a Software Development Service Request

What to Expect

  • The platform is currently free to onboard for state agencies. Onboarding includes:
    • Initial discovery to identify how well the website needs fit the State Website Platform.
    • Building the initial 'staged' website. This site is where you can begin to build your website before it is publicly exposed.
    • A 2-hour training session which includes the basic information needed to begin utilizing the State Website Platform application. Agencies can request additional training sessions, but only the first one is part of the standard onboarding. All additional training sessions will require a request.
    • The preparation for go-live, which include server proxy requests, login system requests, and non-content related configuration updates to the website.
    • The launch of your website to the public.
  • The agency is responsible for their site content.
Get Started

Our Process

All sites follow a defined process.

Phase Activity/Task Expectations
Discovery Project Plan Document and identify the overall project scope, approach, responsibilities, deliverables.
Execution Site Standup Stand up the "Staging" website for the agency to proceed with their content administration.
Devlopment Custom Development Develop any customization that has been determined in scope for the State Website Platform.
Testing Quality Testing Agency will ensure their content and website is ready for go-live scheduling.
Implementation Go-Live Confirm Go-Live schedule and launch site.
Closeout Closeout Report Confirm that live website is acceptable and that project may be closed.

 

Training

While the website platform is built on Drupal, there's no need to become a Drupal expert to maintain your website. Drupal allows you to create new pages, add images, update your logo, and more without requiring any IT experience.

Visit our training website (must be on the state network) to view all training/support articles and detailed notes for every release of the web platform.