ACF Responsive Migrations

Content and visual updates to division websites to improve the mobile experience.

Where We Started

The online presence for the Administration for Children and Families is a series of interconnected websites — one for each of the Program Offices in the agency, as well as a “home” presence that pulls selectively from the program office sites.

A new responsive template had been created for the Drupal framework, and the offices were going to be moving to that new design one by one. Since sites were rather small and the new sites were based in a new content type, the process was going to be mostly manual.

This opened up the possibility of doing a deep dive into each site. Although the migration could have been a primarily surface-level and technical process, we took the time to get each office to reassess their audiences and goals, adapt their architecture, and then re-write their content keeping in mind their audiences and a mobile-friendly approach.


For the migrations, I serve as project manager and content strategist. I worked in collaboration with a small team from the program office, who drew in technical expertise from their offices as needed. We also relied on our contractors and their developers to make any updates or changes to functionality.

Documentation and Process

Because I knew that the process would be brand new to most offices and need to be repeated by multiple offices, I developed a suite of pages on our Digital Toolbox outlining the process in five phases of Explore, Audit, Plan, Create, and Build.

The Office on Trafficking in Persons

The Office on Trafficking in Persons was the first office to complete the migration.

To start, we pulled together leadership and program staff to ideate on the pain points of the site, and start getting a sense of what content was and wasn’t important. Through these sessions and user interviews with staff and members of the field offices, we came up with a sense of the direction the site needed to go.

After a complete content audit, the smaller team worked on creating the information architecture with card sorting and treetesting. The card sort was mostly to simplify the taxonomy — the site had somewhere around 80 terms, most no longer in use. Then the tree testing with participants inside outside government (9 or less, to work within Paperwork Reduction Act rules) to get a sense that the new IA worked.

The new architecture reflected the desires of the office and users – making the top level more action-oriented and nuanced to help drive users to the information they needed. It also demonstrated a clearer focus on the two main activities of the office: direct assistance and training.

Once the architecture was established, we set up a content creation process that looped in subject matter experts and front-line editors, then I edited the work for style and impact before it was reviewed and approved by leadership.

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