As the largest city in the state of Michigan, the City of Detroit is home to nearly 680,000 residents who come from various cultural and economic backgrounds.
The City of Detroit wanted to create a more accessible and searchable website where citizens could easily find services and resources, and be more aware of things that were happening in their local communities. At the same time, they wanted to simplify the process of creating and updating content for the over 180 contributing content editors across multiple departments and agencies.
With the diversity in cultural and economic backgrounds and having one of the highest poverty rates in the state, the City needed to provide access to essential information and resources, regardless of access to computers, internet speed, literacy level or native language. At the same time, moving from structured to unstructured content required re-architecting the site from the ground up and creating a list of essential content categories that would serve as the building blocks for the new site. Moving from a proprietary CMS to an open source project required new processes to deal with bugs, a new support and development workflow, and a steep learning curve for the team.
Reviewing analytics to determine what visitors seemed most interested in and reaching out to the department and government agencies to understand the most common requests they were receiving helped to inform the content strategy. The Acquia Cloud platform and tools provided an out-of-the-box, easy to manage, well-thought-out development environment and helped the team hit the ground running without having to spend hours configuring and maintaining environments. The new website incorporates SMS tools to ensure that residents who do not have home internet connectivity can still obtain crucial city services. There is a translation process for the three most spoken languages in the city, which consists of both machine and human translation. Re-architecting the data structure enabled a better search experience, for both citizens and content editors.
The residents of Detroit now have the ability to obtain their city services, get assistance from their city government and improve their quality of life using the new city website.