Case Study - U.S. National Park Service

Case Study
U.S. National Park Service
A mountain landscape with a waterfall in the distance coming down off a cliff
Federal Government
Federal Government
Web Design
Web Development

The inside track on Inside NPS's intranet challenge and solution

A continuous improvement approach to improving a busy website.

It all started with the National Park Service sunsetting an assortment of Google sites, which at the time were made to look from the outside like a single online experience. The goal, as set out by the Drupal Development Services through the Department of the Interior (DOI), was a new, unified experience built on Drupal 8 – effectively a Content Management System replatform. However, the company the National Park Service chose to perform the site upgrade ran into trouble – the code they had been working on was not compatible – leaving NPS afloat with a looming challenge a mere two days before the expiration date of their existing vendor’s contract. To remedy the issue DOI, having had prior positive experiences with Tactis, turned to the agency for its technological expertise. Of particular concern was the functioning of its InsideNPS intranet site, a crucial, employee portal for daily visits from its over-3000 employees, seeking important information like jobs, events, news, flag status, and other relevant information like daily Covid-19 updates.

Against the clock

As the prime on the contract, Tactis began building out the website functionality in the last two days before the termination of the existing contract. With discovery, UX, and design largely in place, plus hosting lined up with Tactis-partner IBM, the dev team worked at warp speed to iron out the kinks and perform the new configuration, working closely with IBM. The organization of content was a primary pain-point that the team had to work through. A previously approved site architecture had sorely missed the mark and had to be resolved by the development team. Coming up with tech recommendations that relate to content types, how to organize content types, seeking out efficiencies through effective taxonomies, and making modifications to accommodate this new information, was part of the ongoing process. A secondary pain-point was the challenge of ensuring that the new Drupal implementation result in an intuitive and user-friendly experience for a large number of employees who had been struggling with where to go to find pertinent information.

Solutions. Inside and out.

The resulting InsideNPS site, which Tactis helped launch, was ultimately configured to allow for levels of permission, including higher permissions for managing menus, taxonomies, and other admin requirements that go beyond the entry level content entry that all members are permitted. Ultimately, for a site with many firewalls, InsideNPS had to make provision for scores of secure visits daily and the ability for the staff to post freely. It should be noted that the content creation is not restricted to authors or admin but is open to all of InsideNPS users, who sign in with a PIV card. Moving ahead, InsideNPS and Tactis are taking a continuous improvement approach to improving the InsideNPS experience, an approach which has resulted in growth through learning for both Tactis and the ongoing and mutually beneficial National Park Service (NPS) partnership.

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