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Oro Valley creates inclusive and accessible experiences for all

Why did Oro Valley, Arizona decide to retire their open-source platform?

After years of developing and maintaining their website on Drupal 7, the web team at Oro Valley realized that Drupal 7 was nearing end-of-life,and the website was showing its age, requiring a refresh of design and organization to enhance usability. In addition, development personnel would be retiring from the organization. As such, the team decided to outsource the redesign, hosting and CMS. Outsourcing the site would also help overcome the following issues:

  • Content heavy service pages were created in a way that made it difficult to find content; 
  • Difficulty keeping up to date with accessibility guidelines; and 
  • A backlog of work for the internal technology team which hindered their ability to continue to evolve their user experience. 
The Solution 

After an extensive RFP process, the Town of Oro Valley realized that creating a new website with an open-source platform would only continue to create challenges for the Town. Instead, they prioritized hiring a digital media specialist that would support content contributors and implement user experience best practices and sought out a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) partner.  

Based on Oro Valley’s challenges, they were looking for: 

  • A partner that understood the challenges of local government and was focused on user-centered design; 
  • A technology that helped them build a governance structure so content could not be published unless it followed their internal style guide; and 
  • A website that would stay current with the latest mobile readiness and ADA compliance standards without needing to pay for version upgrades. 

“We knew that we weren’t looking for just any government-hosted solution, so when we saw OpenCities, we were impressed by their built-for-government platform. They helped educate our web team and content editors on best practices for user-centered design and showed us how easy it is to create an enhanced user-experience within the OpenCities platform.  

Headshots - Case Studies

Misti Nowak
Oro Valley’s Communications Administrator 


The content editors at Oro Valley were able to quickly deploy changes to the website using the WYSIWYG editor. Content editors were empowered to improve resident experience by transforming departmental services into inclusiveaccessible, and mobile ready experiences.  

The OpenCities platform enabled the core web team to apply styling and accessibility rules to content editing so content editors can build new services while being compliant to branding and accessibility guidelines. This approach drastically cut down the user experience gap that the town was facing on its website.  

The town’s web team wanted to ensure that the organization’s digital governance strategy would be supported and that the technology would not be outdated after only a few years.  

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People don't browse government websites like they would a news site or online store. Our user-centered website designs are continuously tested and upgraded to empower you to put those people first. By prioritizing the most popular requests and tasks on your homepage, residents can quickly find the services they need most.

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