State of Iowa

Making a Measurable Difference for 3 Million Residents

View the site
Iowa capitol building at night

Iowa serves 32 million visitors annually across its state agency websites. However, these websites needed consistent branding, navigation, features, and centralized governance. Stale and redundant content plagued the constituent experience.

We reorganized the agency websites and migrated them to a new unified Drupal platform that improves the editorial experience, gives agencies flexibility while maintaining consistent branding, and addresses major accessibility concerns.

Three different Iowa websites at different screen sizes.

A streamlined editorial experience

We interviewed content authors and public information officers to sift through competing requirements and prioritize them alongside the state’s steering committee. The platform had to serve various team sizes, all with different experience levels, and provide flexibility in serving content.

The new experience empowers agency staff while ensuring compliance with design and accessibility standards. Authors can automate content lists with various display options, apply filters, and embed them across their sites. We also standardized video, visualization, and table insertion to address agency requirements and boost security.

A flexible design system that scales

Sharing the same platform doesn’t mean having the same design. We expanded Iowa’s color palette to offer more variations, giving agencies more customization options without sacrificing accessibility and branding.

Design system and palette selection examples

Visual documentation provides editors with patterns and sample layouts, enabling them to build what they want. This consistency reinforces the authenticity of agency websites and constituents’ trust.

Iowa layout and patterns from the design system

A hand-crafted migration process

We migrated websites to the new platform in groups, combining automated processes with manual entry. Each site underwent a comprehensive content audit and received a customized migration plan. We identified content gaps, redundancies, and outdated documents and web pages to ensure each launch had maximum impact. 

Better performance and greater security

Agency websites were previously hosted with several providers, complicating maintenance and security. Slow loading times and outages were common. We conducted a needs analysis and made hosting recommendations to fix these issues.

The new platform has a single codebase, but every website has an isolated instance on Pantheon. Our streamlined DevOps process enables rapid website launches and code updates to be easily deployed to all live sites, making everything more stable and secure.

A digital experience ready for the future

The state set key metrics to measure improvement. Agencies targeted at least a 30% reduction in stale or redundant content and an accessibility score of 83 or higher. Every website that launches on the new platform meets or exceeds these KPIs. Many even eliminated over 90% of the content, and accessibility scores remain in the high 90s.

Getting buy-in from many stakeholders is always a challenge, but early successes from the rollout convinced many to embrace the new platform. Based on a retrospective survey, the ease of use and flexibility impressed many. Some became so enthusiastic that they helped other state agencies adapt to the changes. These internal champions will ensure the longevity and ROI of the project.

I’ve seen so many stakeholders, who I thought would never come on board, turn the tide and become some of our biggest champions. They were very impressed by Pantheon and Lullabot.

Alex Murphy, Project Leader for the State of Iowa’s Digital Transformation Project

Different websites fro Iowa

Project credits

The following people contributed to the success of this project.

  • Andrew Berry

    Director of Technology

  • Betty Tran

    Senior Developer

  • Christian López Espínola

    Back-end Developer

  • Claire Ristow

    Front-end Developer

  • Cristina Chumillas

    Senior Front-end Developer

  • David Burns

    VP of Extended Support

  • Erin Schroeder

    Senior Content Strategist

  • Frances Duncan

    Senior Content Strategist

  • Greg Dunlap

    Director of Strategy

  • Javier Reartes

    Senior Front-end Developer

  • Kat Shaw

    Lead Engineer

  • Laura Donelan

    Senior Technical Project Manager

  • M. Nikki Flores

    Senior Technical Project Manager

  • Marissa Epstein

    Senior UX Strategist

  • Matt Kleve

    Senior Developer

  • Mel Brisgone

    Support Project Manager

  • Morgan Eck

    Front-end Developer

  • Nate Lampton

    Senior Technical Architect

  • Stephanie Ganzer

    Senior UI Designer

  • Sydney Barnes

    Senior UI Designer

Anchor to move to the services section


We provided the following kinds of services to help this project succeed.

  • Accessibility

  • Data Migration

  • Deployment

  • Digital & Content Strategy

  • Drupal Development

  • Drupal Site Building

  • Front-end Architecture

  • Front-end Development

  • Mobile

  • Performance and Scalability

  • Search

  • Security

  • Support & Maintenance

  • System Administration

  • Technical Architecture

  • Technical Project Management

  • UI Design

  • User Management

  • UX & Design

Get in touch with us

Tell us about your project or drop us a line. We'd love to hear from you!