Need to Know
- This project included upgrading twenty Drupal 7 websites to Drupal 8 Site Factory and 68 legacy site replacements through content amalgamation or deprecation.
- Site Factory provided agility to spin up sites during the initial lockdown and turbulent social times - now, within hours of deployment, a new site is ready for the content population.
- The website won a 2020 WebAward for Standard of Excellence.
The University of Virginia (UVA) encompasses twelve schools in Charlottesville and the College at Wise in Southwest Virginia. In 2019, the University was ranked the No. 3 best public university by U.S. News & World Report.
The University of Virginia has individual departments, working mostly autonomously with their budgets, leadership, and needs. However, the school’s ITS Custom Applications & Consulting Services (CASC) team still managed over three hundred websites and required a more scalable approach that provides the opportunity to add thousands more University-affiliated sites.
With its web development costs escalating, Drupal 7 and 8 nearing end-of-life and the retirement of their other web solution on the horizon, UVA CASC was challenged to reduce the cost of ownership per department, deliver central site delivery, governance, and implement a scalable approach.
The solution needed to allow flexibility for students, professors, researchers, departments, administrators, and other university-affiliated groups to have autonomy over their sites, meet stringent security and accessibility standards, and be future-friendly in design and integration.
With over three hundred sites needing to be updated, the UVA team decided Acquia Cloud Site Factory (ACSF) met their needs. However, the team needed a Drupal consultant to help define their approach, choose suitable modules, architect the installation profiles, and plan the development work. The University of Virginia partnered with Northern on the Site Factory implementation.
The result was a modern web publishing platform with security and accessibility built-in. Now, a mobile-friendly, UVA-branded template powers hundreds of websites, which benefit from future feature enhancements as soon as they are released. The ITS team can quickly spin up a new site and train departments to add and edit content.
Brand governance and development efficiency with Site Factory
Site Factory makes a lot of sense for the centralized governance of a university. With Site Factory, each department gets its property, with its users and content, free of influence from other university departments. Branding can remain consistent across all properties while allowing individual departments flexibility to design a site and navigation that suits their content. The IT team maintains all data and trains on a single content management system rather than an ecosystem of platforms. Visitors receive a similar experience across the university system rather than learning to navigate vastly different departments' sites.
The University shares the total cost of the product, which reduces the cost of ownership per department. With security and accessibility standards met, the University encourages adoption across all departments with a “free for the first year” promotion. It offers Drupal training courses at regular intervals open to any Department staff.