ACES and LAS Partner on Drupal Illinois Theme

Redesigning one website is a sizable task. The College of Agricultural, Consumer & Environmental Sciences (ACES) is on its way to redesigning 10 websites. Each of the nine department websites and the main College of ACES website are being refreshed with the official Illinois theme using the Drupal content management system (CMS). The Animal Sciences website is one of those that was refreshed to use the theme.

When Drupal announced that Drupal 8 was nearing its end of life, the college’s web team began to research the steps necessary to update their online presence. Around the same time, the Office of Strategic Marketing and Branding (OSMB) released information about a new initiative to unify the Illinois visual identity by applying new branding to university website design.

During lunch one day, representatives from the College of ACES, the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences (LAS), and Business IT began discussing web design, and the two colleges realized they were working toward the same end: planning and designing updates to meet OSMB standards for web design. Nate Baxley (LAS) and Melissa Waller (ACES) realized their units would mutually benefit from working together to build the Illinois theme for the Drupal CMS.

The discussion evolved into a strong partnership between two colleges and across the Web Implementation Guidelines Group, a university-wide team of designers, developers, and user experience experts working to build the Illinois theme for Drupal, WordPress, Sitefinity, and other platforms.

Through this collaboration, the colleges realized efficiencies in design and development. Both units now benefit from infrastructure process flows, improved documentation and versioning, new best practices, and getting more done with fewer resources.

Waller, director of web development, College of ACES, expressed her pleasure with the collaboration. “One of the cool things about this collaboration with LAS is that we’ve been able to move forward with framework, scripting, and site upkeep … in addition to pulling from both teams’ expertise to create a better overall system.”

The ACES website refresh is well underway, starting with department-level sites, then moving to the ACES college site. LAS currently hosts over 50 unit websites on the LAS Drupal framework and will be seamlessly migrating them to the new campus framework in 2022.

The Business IT Collaboration is a cross-campus initiative to harness technology solutions to streamline business processes, improve efficiencies, enhance productivity, and deliver data by leveraging local talent and applications.

A live LAS website that has been updated with the Illinois theme for the Drupal CMS
A live ACES website that has been updated with the Illinois theme for the Drupal CMS