Government Websites Made Easy

Aha Consulting, a Municode company that got acquired in 2016, provides end-to-end website design, development, hosting, and support for cities, counties, school districts, and other local government agencies.  We improve your organization's image and profile, simplify communications, and increase citizen self-service.

We use Drupal, the world's leading open-source web content management system.  We are Drupal experts!

 

 
$5,000+
 
$100 - $149 / hr
 
2 - 9
 Founded
2008
Show all +
Lake Oswego, OR
headquarters
  • 415 North State Street #138
    Lake Oswego, OR 97034
    United States
other locations
  • 4 MacCann Road
    Hudson, NH 03051
    United States

Reviews

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Drupal Implementation For State Municipal Government

"I really appreciate their responsiveness and flexibility."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
4.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$50,000 to $199,999
Project summary: 

Aha Consulting built a municipality's website on the Drupal 7 platform to be modern and facilitate e-commerce. They provided ideation, visual design, back-end development, hosting, and support.

The Reviewer
 
501-1000 Employees
 
Vancouver, Washington
Jim Reed
Web Content Manager, City of Vancouver
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Drupal's functional structure serves the municipality's needs, and visitors to the site have commented on its useful features and pleasing aesthetic design. Aha Consulting was a capable partner, displaying technical skill, helpful flexibility, and a friendly approach.

A Clutch analyst personally interviewed this client over the phone. Below is an edited transcript.

BACKGROUND

Could you briefly describe your organization?

This is [a division within the municipal government of] the city of Vancouver, Wash. We are the fourth-largest city in the state of Washington, located on Columbia River across from Portland, Ore.

What is your position?

I'm the Web content manager. I'm responsible for all aspects of our publicly facing site. 

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

Could you describe the business challenges you were attempting to address when you began the relationship with Aha Consulting?

Our website was very outdated. It had been built at the time before we had to process online transactions from our users. It was originally conceived and deployed for informational distribution rather than transactional processes. It was built on an obsolete content management system. This wasn’t modern and up to date, and we wanted to address some of those, and position ourselves better to go forward with a more modern platform. It was then that we decided to distribute several requests for proposals, and we were particularly interested in open source CMS [content management system], but we hadn’t specified that we wanted to it on any particular platform. Aha Consulting ended up winning the project because we felt confident they'd be able to deliver our solution within our specified parameters. 

On what platform did Aha Consulting rebuild your new website?

It was a Drupal 7 site. 

SOLUTION

Could you describe the scope of this project? For instance, did it involve custom visual design, backend development, training, or support?

We basically started from scratch and did some design exercises. We identified what we wanted the site to look like and so forth, and identified the various features that we wanted on the site. They built all of it on Drupal. We began to test it, tweak it, and evaluate it, and that whole process is ongoing. We’re still adding new features and enhancements. That included our parks and recreation department site, which at the time, the parks and rec department was a joint city-county operation, but we had always been the lead player. 

We had previously hosted the site ourselves before we went on Drupal, and we now host it with a data center, and that’s all handled through Aha Consulting. 

Could you describe the process by which you selected Aha Consulting as your solution partner?

They were mentioned in an online discussion group for government Web professionals, and we were interested in open source, and they specialized in Drupal, and they had considerable experience with government sites. I knew we should approach them with our project. I then contacted Brian Gilday [founder and president of Aha Consulting], and we had a few conversations. The proposal Aha submitted was very compelling. We were impressed with their capabilities, experience and pricing scheme. That's why we chose Aha. 

Could you provide a sense of the size of this initiative in monetary terms?

I think it was between $60,000 to $70,000 for the initial project. We’ve had additional work that’s probably between $20,000 to $30,000.

When was your new website launched?

It was launched in March of 2013.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

In terms of results, could you share any statistics, metrics, or user feedback that would demonstrate the effectiveness of the work they’ve delivered?

The interesting thing about our site metrics is that we discovered our old site had some form of glitch that resulted in inaccurate figures and tracking. It was reporting higher traffic rates than we were actually receiving, as much as we can determine. Because of that, it's essentially impossible to compare our current traffic with that we were experiencing with our old site.

Page view metrics are a different story, because the glitch didn't seem to affect those figures. On that basis, we haven’t really seen an increase or decrease in our viewership levels. We've certainly received positive feedback from people about the way the site looks. We keep tweaking it. We’re preparing to roll out some more page changes that will hopefully make it even better. 

When working with Aha Consulting, is there anything you would consider unique or special about them compared to other vendors you’ve worked with in the past?

I would say that they’re very easy to work with. The one thing that has sometimes been an issue here is that they might be a little too small. They are a very small shop, so sometimes it takes a little longer for them to get things done, because they have a limited number of resources they can allocate to any given task. That's the nature of the beast, I suppose. It's been great working with them. I really appreciate their responsiveness and flexibility.

Do you remain confident that the Drupal CMS will continue to satisfy your business needs into the foreseeable future?

Yes. There have been a few things that I’ve kind of been surprised about. For example, I’ve been kind of surprised that the mapping capabilities built in Drupal aren’t as robust as I had hoped they would be. It’s one of those things that people can continue to work on and, apparently from the bit of research that I have done, this is a known issue that lots of people in the Drupal world are trying to improve and rectify. 

5.0
Overall Score
  • 4.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

Drupal Implementation and Website Redesign For Municipal Government

"Aha Consulting was the only vendor that internalized the complexity of our needs."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
4.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$50,000 to $199,999
 
2008 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Aha Consulting migrated a municipality's site onto Drupal. The project involved requirements gathering, visual design, template creation, back-end development, data migration, and UI/UX design. 

The Reviewer
 
501-1000 Employees
 
West Linn, Oregon
Assistant City Manager, West Linn
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Drupal has met the municipality's needs, and Google Analytics integration allows staff to consistently monitor its performance. Aha Consulting's exhaustive knowledge of local government's challenges and responsibilities helped them perfectly customize the site's structure. 

A Clutch analyst personally interviewed this client over the phone. Below is an edited transcript.

BACKGROUND

Could you briefly describe your organization?

I work for the city of West Linn, Ore. We’re a small suburban community of Portland, Ore, and we’re a full-service community. We have all public utilities and a police department, parks and rec, library, and all administrative services.

What is your position?

I’m the assistant city manager. In that capacity, I oversee communications, IT [information technology], finance, and HR [human resources].

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

Could you describe the business challenges you were attempting to address when you initiated the relationship with Aha Consulting?

At the time, back in 2008, we had an online bulletin board through Dreamweaver. Our initial RFP [request for proposal] specified that we were looking to implement a content management system with a redesigned frontend.

SOLUTION

Could you describe the scope of the project? For instance, did it include custom visual design, backend development, training, or support?

They first provided us with the recommendation to use Drupal as our CMS [content management system]. Our previous system was centralized and one Webmaster was responsible for disseminating all of our content. This was highly inefficient, and a lot of things fell through the cracks. We specifically stated in our RFP that we wished to decentralize our revamped website. We wanted each department to be able to maintain their respective sections of the site. Once we agreed to utilize Drupal, they were then responsible for the requirements gathering, custom visual design, wireframing, template creation, backend development, data preparation and migration, systems integration, UI/UX [user interface/user experience] testing, training, and ongoing support.

What was the reasoning behind your selection of Drupal?

It met all of our needs at the time. It was delivering the level of sophistication that we really needed. It was also extremely easy for all of our staff to use. The simplicity appealed to us because we have a limited amount of technology savvy city employees. We didn’t want to implement a CMS that would detract from our productivity only because of its complexity.

How did you select Aha Consulting as your solution partner?

We conducted a competitive bid process. We distributed several RFPs to potential vendors in the area. We then ended up interviewing Aha Consulting along with a few other companies. We felt confident with Aha Consulting because they had familiarity with the local community and government organizations. I think creating websites for local governments is a very different task compared to creating one for private sector companies and nonprofits. The fact that they really seemed to understand local government was really the tipping point for us. We were the first of their local government clients, which is certainly noteworthy.

Could you provide a sense of the size of this project in monetary terms?

I believe the implementation was approximately $25,000. We’ve also had one upgrade to the latest version of Drupal, which was another $10,000. Each year we’ve had an approximate cost of $10,000 for additions of customized modules.

When was the implementation complete?

It was completed in 2008, but we have other projects ongoing. 

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

In terms of results, could you share any statistics, metrics, or user feedback that would demonstrate the effectiveness of the work they’ve delivered?

That’s rather difficult because we had such a rudimentary website back in 2008. We didn’t have metrics or tools that helped us track and compare our progress. That said, they’ve already helped us deploy Google Analytics, so we can now monitor and analyze our Web traffic and site engagement levels. We never had that capability before, so that’s a big deal for us now.

Do you remain confident that Drupal is an appropriate CMS for your business needs?

You know, that’s a great question because I am a big WordPress user on my own time and with my own volunteer activities. I’m WordPress nerd. I think it’s the coolest thing ever. But, at this point, I do think Drupal is sufficient.

When working with Aha Consulting, is there anything you would consider unique or special about them compared to other vendors you’ve worked with in the past?

They really understand local government, and I think that’s important. I said this earlier, but when we were initially looking at other consultants, a lot of people had great experience working with private companies or nonprofits. However, when it comes to the unique challenges and the diversity of services we provide, Aha Consulting was the only vendor that internalized the complexity of our needs.

In retrospect, are there areas that you think Aha Consulting could improve upon, or are there things that you’d do differently as the client before initiating this type of project?

My only complaint with Aha Consulting is that I want more of their time, and I want them to be doing our work first. But, that’s the tradeoff that you make when you have a consultant instead of an in-house employee. Having dedicated resources is something most organizations want, so it’s less of a critique and more akin to wishful thinking.

The only time I get frustrated is when I need something immediately, and we have to wait until it’s our turn in the support queue. But, again, we knew that we were accepting the tradeoff when we decided not to have an in-house Web designer. In the end, that’s the right choice for us, because we don’t have enough work to justify a full-time staff member.

5.0
Overall Score
  • 4.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer