At a glance

2 to 4 months
CivicTheme, GovCMS, Drupal
Federal government
Discovery & strategy, Build & migration, Content & training, Hosting & maintenance, Support & optimisation, Technical advisory
Whole of government, Open design, Open source, Web development, Content management systems, Drupal Planet
Multidisciplinary teams, Agile delivery, Design, Open standards & common platforms, Open source, Accessibility


The agency’s challenge

A large federal government agency had multiple sites, including a public-facing website built on GovCMSExternal Link Drupal 7. With Drupal 7 coming to end-of-life, the agency needed a new GovCMS site built on Drupal 9. Note: The agency can’t be named for security reasons.

The agency’s transformation

Salsa recommended building the new website using CivicThemeExternal Link , for a rapid build. The site was built in 3 months, and for under $40K. CivicTheme is an open source, inclusive and component-based design system and Drupal 9 theme.

The outcomes

  • A visually appealing website built with user-tested components
  • A fast website build
  • An extremely cost-effective website build

Detailed case study

Below is a more detailed case study, with specific information for this site build.

The challenge — a Drupal 7 website coming to end of life

Our federal agency client had multiple websites and secure portals, including a public-facing website built on GovCMSExternal Link Drupal 7. With Drupal 7 end-of-life (EOL) looming, the agency needed to find a solution. It wanted to build a new website quickly on GovCMS Drupal 9.

The transformation — a GovCMS D9 website

Salsa presented CivicThemeExternal Link as a rapid build option. CivicTheme provides a high quality design system and theme that makes it fast to build websites and with much lower costs.

The project kicked off with two short workshops, covering:

  • Brand basics — colours, font, logo
  • Visual mappings and configuration
  • Page layouts
  • Site navigation
  • Content mapping
  • Content loading strategy
  • Site search requirements
  • Webform setup

During the first week of the project, Salsa also set up the base theme, sub theme and top level information architecture (IA).

Salsa provided a site assembler trained in CivicTheme to populate and configure the majority of the site’s content. A runsheet was established for keeping track of the pages loaded and their relevant URLs.

Salsa and our client spent a significant effort to fine tune the fonts and colours of the site to meet the agency’s brand guidelines. Regular development, testing and UAT iterations were completed to get complete satisfaction of the outcomes.

While final testing and stakeholder approval was being sought, Salsa completed a major upgrade to the CivicTheme codebase to ensure that the project was running on the latest version. This stability provides a strong foundation for ongoing maintenance and improvements in the future.


Our accessibility expert validated the colour palette choices to ensure they met accessibility standards (WCAG 2.1).

The outcomes — a low-cost, visually appealing site

  • A visually appealing website built with user-tested and accessible components
  • A fast website build
  • An extremely cost-effective website build (under $40k)
  • The benefits of the whole-of-government platform GovCMS, including open source code (no licensing fees), access to the GovCMS community, and a highly resilient and secure platform