The City of Arcata approached us for help after a couple years struggling to work with their Joomla site. We did our best to patch the site together so they could continue to edit and add content. But it quickly became clear that the site would have to be overhauled. This was not necessarily an indictment of Joomla itself, but more an issue of how it was implemented originally and then allowed to deteriorate through neglect. After reviewing the City's site needs we felt we could easily accommodate their requests using Drupal. So we set out to refine the site specifications and develop a site map. We also began to look at the user interface to determine how we could better organize the huge amount of information they wanted to make available and how to present that information in an intuitive manner.
Knowing they had a large amount of data to transfer in to a new site structure we set up development site and built an initial site structure and menu system where they could begin to enter data even as we were still working on the details of the features, information architecture and design.
After several months the design, content and features began to come together. We added several staff members to site editing roles and provided training and documentation so the content tasks could be spread around. In December the City decided they needed to go live with the new site as the old one had become totally unusable. So, we made the transfer even though a content was incomplete. Over the last couple months while City staff continued to add content we continued to add some behind the scenes features. At last count the site was running close to 50 modules with a only a small amount of custom code.
This was an exciting and complex project for us. But the kind we would would love to more of as it pushed us to solve new problems and learn new solutions. We also grew in our appreciation of the strength and flexibilty of the Drupal system.