tecznotes

Michal Migurski's notebook, listening post, and soapbox. Subscribe to this blog. Check out the rest of my site as well.

Feb 18, 2014 2:01am

being a client

We released the new Code for America website on Friday, and now it is live.

We’ve been using this project as a testbed for new content management and design process ideas that we think might be helpful to our government partners. In conversations with cities, I’ve learned that no one is ever happy with their content management system, and no one ever thinks they have control over their own presence. Meanwhile, GOV.UK has shown off the importance and value of working on the website first, and the central role it plays in government presence. “Website” is such an uncompelling word, but a site is the default digital front door for any government. This makes city sites interesting to Code for America.

One of the great joys of this project lay in playing the role of the client, something new for me. At Stamen I spent nine years on the other side of the table, and here we got to commission Brighton’s Clearleft and Colorado’s Dojo4 agencies to do visual design and front-end code. Clearleft’s pattern deliverables are the special-special that made the final work so strong. Jon Aizlewood’s introduction to the concept convinced me to contact Clearleft. Jeremy Keith’s interest in design systems kicked off the process, and Anna Debenham’s fucking rock star delivery brought it all home.

Clearleft has publicized their copy of the patterns, while we’ve taken it one step further by hosting our stylesheets directly from the pattern library. We have a far-flung, increasingly-worldwide Brigade program with sites of their own to run, and I’m excited to have a normal website redesign process result in a shareable public utility for the future sites created by our local communities.

I’m currently procrastinating on a blog post detailing the way we blended Github, Jekyll, Google Docs, and Wordpress to create a heterogenous CMS for the site. If you find any typos, bugs, or problems on the site, send us a pull request via Github with a fix.

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