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Why upgrade to LocalGov Drupal? | Nomensa

Why upgrade to LocalGov Drupal?

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4 minutes, 12 seconds
Why upgrade to LocalGov Drupal?

LocalGov Drupal (LGD) is a content management system (CMS) specifically designed for local government websites. It’s built on Drupal, a popular, mature and robust platform proven on large sites in both the public and private sector, such as Royal Mail, Eurostar, Commonwealth of Massachusetts and Pfizer.

LGD is tailored to meet the unique needs of local councils and government organisations.

LocalGov Drupal is highly accessible

With Nomensa’s vast experience in accessibility, we’ve found LGD to be highly inclusive. Creating a 100% accessible web-based content management system is challenging and achieving absolute accessibility is difficult. Two main challenges in making LocalGov Drupal accessible are:

  • complex content structures – the pages are generated dynamically and have different contexts for the role the visitor has and what device is being used
  • contributed modules and themes – the efforts put into making third party module and themes accessible can vary greatly

These issues apply to Drupal generally and CMSs more broadly.

LGD benefits greatly from the efforts of the wider Drupal accessibility community who are keen enthusiasts and practitioners of all things related to accessibility. Drupal is extensively tested with automation tools and core releases must pass an accessibility quality gate.

Tools like the WAVE Web Accessibility Evaluation Tool, Deque Axe, and Microsoft’s Accessibility Insights help identify accessibility issues and guide developers in addressing them.

A primary goal of LGD is to ensure accessibility, with the aim that councils can build websites which are inclusive, usable and compliant with WCAG 2.1 level AA accessibility guidelines. The LGD documentation for accessibility has extensive and very clear advice for contributors to ensure accessibility is implemented.

Customisation and flexibility

Screenshot showing a demo version of LocalGov Drupal

LGD provides loads of options for local councils to tailor your site to your specific needs. It comes with a wide range of modules, integrations and configurations to suit different departments, services and functions in local government. These are often great sources of collaboration between councils, allowing new adopters of the system to benefit from lessons learnt by other users.

For example, there are a number of practical and sensible content types that come out-of-the-box and can be enabled or disabled as needed. A content type tends be a unit of content which comprises a page on an LGD web site. LGD’s content types include:

  • Services pages – there is a suite of content types created specifically for service pages in LGD, including the Service Landing Page, Service Sub-landing Page, Services Page and Service Status. By using these together with Step-by-step and Guide Pages (two other content types), a local council can create comprehensive and easy to navigate sections of a site
  • Subsites – Subsite overview pages and Subsite pages provide a flexible way for content editors to provide more visual pages with more control to vary the layout of the page
  • Alert Banners – alert banners for various needs can be created for announcements, minor alerts, emergencies and the death of a notable person. These appear in near the top of the page, further alter types can be created for your needs

Openness and transparency

LGD is open source software and by that definition, there are a number of benefits:

  • This transparency fosters trust and enables users to verify the security, privacy and adherence to best practices for web development
  • LocalGov Drupal benefits from a vibrant and diverse community of developers, contributors, and users who actively collaborate to improve the software. This community-driven development model encourages knowledge sharing, problem-solving and innovation. Community members contribute code, share insights and offer support to enhance LocalGov Drupal’s features, functionality, and accessibility
  • It provides a high level of customisation and flexibility. The open nature of the software allows you to tailor the platform to meet your specific needs, adapt it to different contexts, and integrate it with other systems or services you might have
  • There are no licensing fees
  • It supports the aims espoused in the Local Digital Declaration, to work in the open

As of 4 July 2023, 37 councils in the UK and Ireland have chosen LGD. Many, if not all of the councils which have chosen LGD, participate actively in the LGD community via Slack, community meetups, reporting bugs, suggesting new features, and contributing code.

In 2021, Telltale Research surveyed 35 councils in the UK and found the reasons councils wanted to change their site included:

  • 52% ease of use for our end users and citizens
  • 48% improve design/ 48% Look and feel/ 48% accessibility compliance
  • 33% collaboration amongst councils

They uncovered these barriers to choosing a new platform:

  • 31% cost
  • 26% complicated to maintain and develop
  • 17% lack of flexibility and supplier lock-in

In the two years since the number of councils which have switched to LGD has more than doubled as LGD has fulfilled these requirements and removed these barriers.

Can we help you?

We’re working with councils like Essex, Knowsley and Colchester to design, develop and deploy websites on LocalGov Drupal. To find out how we can support you in your transition to LocalGov Drupal, or if you’re curious and would like to learn more, get in touch. Our team will be happy to help and answer any questions you may have.

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