Like Jekyll and Hyde – Do You Have A Secret Side?

Jekyll and Hyde are often cited as the textbook description of split personality disorder – the nice Dr. Jekyll and the evil Mr. Hyde. And while most people don’t have a secret evil side as disparate as the character’s penned by Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson, most people do have a hidden side.

More often than not though that hidden side harbors incredible talent. Not an evil secret, but a wonderful aptitude for success. Take the Government Publishing Office for example. The GPO which recently went through a name change, is now the home to an incredible wealth of digital talent. The just agency announced the completion of a full-scale redesign of the Commerce Department’s website.

“We have really tried to put some energy into increasing the awareness in the government sector that GPO is available to do this work,” explained Bruce Seger, Managing Director of Customer Services at the Government Publishing Office. “We’ve been a somewhat well kept secret in terms of the capabilities of our Creative Services Group to support in the web area.”

Even though the GPO has been developing a line of digital projects for the last ten years, the Commerce Department’s website marked a change for the agency in the level of complexity and profile. Segel told Christopher Dorobek on the DorobekINSIDER program that the GPO is currently using Drupal as our preferred platform for development of websites.

In the past, GPO has completed redesigns of smaller, specialty or mini-websites, such as Commerce’s Stop Fakes site, which aims to educate the public about counterfeit consumer goods, Seger told NextGov.

In all those sites, the GPO has used Drupal in their redesign process. “It is an open source set of software, so there’s constant development going on in terms of the various functionality and the modules that are in the marketplace now at essentially no cost to the user,” said Seger.

GPO developers take an agile approach to their redesign process. “We use an agile methodology for building sites, which lends itself really well to Drupal because much of the Drupal development piece of it is built on discrete little modules for functionality. Our websites are all built with responsive design, so they are usable on a full range of devices,” explained Seger.

But the agile methodology doesn’t mean the GPO doesn’t follow a process design model. “When we initially connect with a customer who has an interest in perhaps redesigning or redeveloping their website, we take them through a conventional and predictable process,” explained Seger. “We do a needs assessment to get a sense of what their requirements are, what new functionalities they are looking for, and then we help them evaluate their current site for its strengths and weaknesses. To do that analysis we look at their site analytics and get a sense of where the user trends are pointing. Then we develop an estimate based on the scope of work.”

One of the unique things about the GPO process is that their designers are plugged right into working team in our customer agency. “Our designers become a part of that team on a one on one basis. An agency can integrate us into their workflow management structure and things like that. In essence, agencies get a huge staff enhancement for their team by adding one of our design staff,” said Seger.

And the procurement process is made much easier as well. “Rather than going through complex acquisitions and competitive competition in the marketplace, once the determination is made that GPO would be a suitable provider, we start with the SF1 and we just move on from there,” Seger told NextGov.

Just like Jekyll and Hyde the GPO has been hiding a powerful secret, they are website redesigning masters, but now that the secrets out, you can bet the agency is going to be inundated with requests.

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