New Drupal7 Website from Dept of Ed - Federal Student Aid

bornholtz's picture

I'm very excited to announce a new site that I've been working on

It is a Drupal 7 site with a mobile friendly responsive design based on Omega. This was developed internally with government employees. Team size was 2 developers, 2 testers and 1 project manager.

And a little bit more about the site and surrounding social media push here:

Happy to answer most questions about the site.


blank copydoc.doc64.5 KB


Very Nice

johnnykrisma's picture

Love the site, I'm in the federal government myself and I am working on an Omega-based site to replace our current CMS.

My content folks wanted me to ask: how many content contributors/authors work on the site and do you have any pointers on training people to use the Drupal interface?

Thanks and great work!


poachable?? ;-)

brent.lightner's picture

Tim--killer site. We're working with Omega and responsiveness a lot these days and love what you're team has done here. Any of you guys looking to make the move to private sector? Same work. Better pay. ;-)

If you're going to Capital Camp, my firm is hosting a reception Friday night (on a boat in Georgetown, if that helps sweeten the pot?) If you're interested in saying hi, find one of us (Taoti) for an invitation. (Or just message me.)

Again, great job!

Nice Job

mottihoresh's picture

Very nice job, a major improvement over the old one!

Motti Horesh
Horesh Studios

John,I've attached a blank

bornholtz's picture

I've attached a blank copydoc with some tips as to how to use it to the original post. Our content creators used those to work with the content while the Drupal system was being built. The whole project was less than 6 months from start to finish so the technical team was constantly racing the writers to have everything they needed.

Here's a note from our lead editor:

We had 2 writers working on this full-time between January and end of June (and one--me--stretching through mid-July launch); 1 additional writer working part-time between January and mid-July; 1 additional writer working part-time between late March and mid-July. I worked extra hours every pay period from December through mid-July, with an average number of extra hours probably being around 20 (8-15 hours earlier in the project, then 30-40 hours over the past couple of months). The other writer worked extra hours a lot of pay periods too, but I don't know how many. This was for a site of approx. 150 pages, 120 of which have substantial content (as opposed to 404 error page, redirect landing pages, and pages that are simply reports that were uploaded to the site). About 120-130 of the pages then had to be translated; I don't know how many people the contractor used for that. We had three reviewers here to look at the translations--one very busy part-time and two occasional.

Great Site

JGonzalez's picture

Awesome site, the typography on it looks great and overall everything is very clean. I'm a huge fan of the casual text that doesn't scare people away from a government website (such as: "Minds can achieve anything. We make sure they get to college.
At Federal Student Aid, we make it easier to get money for higher education.")

John: do you mean in training developers or contributors? For contributors, I think it's up to the dev team to simplify the UI as much as possible. Between using modules like 'admin' with custom staff menus, a friendly admin theme, and intuitive wysiwyg options, contributors shouldn't need much training in using the system.


johnnykrisma's picture

Tim, thanks for that, that's a great guide. Unfortunately, I'm dealing with about 5400 content pages in about 7 content types. Luckily I am pretty expert at the current CMS (Commonspot) and have been really happy with using Feeds to map 1:1 content types. It's definitely an exciting project, and I can only hope it comes out as well as yours has.

Javier, Contributor training is what I was specifically referring to. It's the specter that is looming over my development at the moment, I'm not so worried, but then I'm not the one that has to field the contributor's questions. As far as Contributor UI modules, I am using Admin, Rubik Admin theme, Field Collection, and my favorite discovery Field group. I'm hoping to do a blog post soon about how I've tweaked the contributor area.

Tim, again, great job and thanks for that copydoc, going to pass that along.

BTW, I will be at CapitalCamp if anyone wants to chat Fed stuff.



johnnykrisma's picture

Tim, I'd be interested in knowing what modules you used for the adaptive/responsive images and also and sort of layout modules you used. i.e. Panels. I'm experimenting with a combination of tpl files and context/delta with Omega.


Great Job!

mkamuiru's picture

I must say the site looks great and that your team tackled the job very well. It is also very inspiring to look at the beautiful work as well as learn from your experiences.

One question comes to mind. What module/s are you using for the "Mega Menus".

Thank you for sharing your work.

Megamenu Module

bornholtz's picture

For the megamenu we started with the megamenu module but had to heavily customize things for what we needed. Most specifically, the right side of each megamenu has a special area with a link to a feature (calculator, or other page or something like that) and also along the bottom of each megamenu there's some extra text with a link.

Images and modules

bornholtz's picture


modules you used for the adaptive/responsive images

There are no modules used for that. Just straight CSS. Omega/alpha provides the mobile, narrow, standard, and wide layouts and the images are given a size in each of those stylesheets.

and also and sort of layout modules you used. i.e. Panels. I'm experimenting with a combination of tpl files and context/delta with Omega.

There are a lot of views for the sidebar panels. Most of the content types have extra fields (checkboxes) for the content creator to decide what things show on the sidebar. Then there are views that look at that field on the node and display the corresponding sidebar information. The requirement was that every page needed to have completely customizable side bars.

The only one that is on every page is the glossary tile. That is a fairly modified version of the Lexicon module.


cavinm's picture

the menu is confusing,
If you click a menu item it displays the lower menu and it disappears, the way it works is such that you have to highlight a menu item, then it works fine,