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Client Texas Department of Information Resources (DIR)
What We Do Research, Design & Content, Web Development

Setting the cornerstone of public sector technology in Texas


The Texas Department of Information Resources (DIR) is the technology agency for the State of Texas. They provide leadership, strategy, and technology solutions to Texas state, education, and local governments. DIR serves as a technology hub for state and local government agencies, helping these entities to fulfill their core missions.

DIR is clear about their mission. The more than 200 professionals that work behind the scenes are passionate about making governmental technology more secure, cost-effective, and forward-looking. Agencies can come to DIR for IT purchasing support through their Shared Technology Services or Cooperative Contracts with approved vendors. It’s a silver platter of resources designed as a self-serve experience.

DIR is an established, successful agency. They bring real value that is shaping technology in Texas, and their services are vast and sweeping. Over time, their website became outdated and cumbersome—putting their message on the line. Thus, a mighty partnership was born.


This project utilized nearly every deliverable we offer, from copyediting to translation services and beyond. It all started with Discovery, where our team completed a deep dive into DIR’s agency to determine what their needs were based on scores of internal and external feedback.

The reality for DIR is that their existing website was providing an inconsistent, poor user experience that did not reflect the brand or brand promise. Navigation was a major pain point. The site map was disorganized, with incorrect taxonomies and a less-than-optimal search function. More than that, their audiences weren’t clear on the breadth of services they actually offer. The website structure didn’t reflect or highlight key program areas or a full list of services.

This wasn’t just a website redesign. We were creating a design system—one that can grow over the next few decades right alongside the face of technology in Texas.

Building a Stronger Identity for DIR

Your website is your biggest opportunity to communicate your value. Who you are and who you serve should be immediately apparent on the homepage. For all the value DIR provides Texas agencies, they weren’t communicating clearly that DIR is THE trusted resource for Texas technology solutions.

Luckily, their stakeholders have the right idea.

Stakeholders told us that they categorized DIR’s value by three key roles:

  1. Leader: Leads by example, follows best practices and inspires trust and confidence in the people they serve.

  2. Expert: Provides trusted expertise and guidance to help organizations succeed and develop effective strategies.

  3. Facilitator: Saves its stakeholders time, money, and effort by doing the heavy lifting.

We built a Messaging Platform for DIR that highlights these key roles. A Messaging Platform is a document that describes what an organization should say about itself. It exists to create alignment for anyone representing or producing content on behalf of an organization. DIR’s new messaging inspires confidence in its customers and reflects the agency as an innovative IT leader that provides expertise.

pages of DIR's messaging platform with a cover that has DIR's logo and says "messaging platform". Other pages in the stack include titles of "our mission story", "About us boilerplate", "positioning statement and "mission statement".
DIR’s new messaging platform helps create alignment within the organization.

Promoting Key Programs

Part of strengthening DIR’s messaging involved making sure their key programs could be easily recognized and associated with their work. DIR’s Key Program Areas are:

  • Cooperative Contracts

  • Information Security

  • Communication Technology Services (CTS)

  • Technology Planning & Policy

Then, they have five Shared Technology Services that they manage for their customers:

  • Statewide Data Program


  • Data Center Services

  • Managed Security Services

  • Managed Application Services

The original website structure placed crucial information about these key areas across various sections of the website, rather than in one, centralized place. For example, the homepage had an “About DIR” section that housed information about Cooperative Contracts, but more information about that key area could be found in the FAQ section, or the “How to Order” section.

The new website structure prominently highlights the Key Program Areas so it is clear what services they provide. We restructured the hierarchy to consolidate the information DIR’s audiences are looking for and introduced audience-based navigation. Now, whether you’re a state agency, university, vendor, data officer, or otherwise, you know exactly where to go.

stills from DIR's website
New audience-based navigation and consolidated information makes searching for information easy.

Embracing Modernity

DIR’s new design system provides a consistent look and feel.

Creating a design system requires various moving parts, like massive pieces of code, hundreds of pieces of user interface, and other structures—all of which need to be accounted for. By embracing a design system approach, you can achieve consistency across visual design, content publication, and ultimately user experience. The ability to manage and scale efficiently is the icing on the cake.

DIR's careers page on their website
We brought DIR’s careers page to life to better reflect who they are.

We redesigned the careers section to bring DIR’s unique culture to the forefront. Previously, DIR used a generic, uninviting template. Now, we’ve customized the experience to include testimonials, recent job listings, videos about why to work at DIR, and a much more engaging interface that reflects who they are and why potential job seekers should be interested.

We also completed a complex Salesforce integration, where all DIR’s state contracts live. Each contract included several data points to integrate, requiring the creation of new content types on the back end, resulting in a data structure that displayed clearly on the site.

DIR's website with a contract detail
Salesforce integration in action on DIR’s new website.

The complexity of information and connected data also necessitated some upgrades behind the scenes. The needs of the back end required more of the front end, and we were able to accomplish both by migrating DIR to Drupal 9 from Sharepoint.

Raising the (Search) Bar

In partnership with Funnelback, users can now index content comprehensively to show contextual search results on DIR’s website.

A website with ineffective search functions isn’t doing much to help its users—especially if the website is disorganized, dense, and text-heavy. In DIR’s case, many users simply learned how to do the one task they need to accomplish regularly with no organic path in the navigation. That’s an issue for an agency that exists to provide information and resources, and it prevents users from being exposed to the other ways they can take advantage of DIR’s value.

Based on our Discovery, we knew that one of the primary tasks for DIR’s users is to search contracts, so we honed in on making that functionality as intuitive as possible. We partnered with a third-party vendor, Squiz (Funnelback search), to index content comprehensively to show contextual results.

Now, users have an effective, filter-enabled search experience to find what they need quickly.

Mobile-First, Not Just Mobile-Friendly

In the age of the iPhone, it’s not enough to simply say your website can exist on someone’s phone. It has to play just as well, if not better, as it does on the desktop, while meeting the same standards for accessibility. Crafting a good mobile experience is crucial for any of our projects, and this was no different. For DIR, we heavily considered all the little things we’d have to tweak to make the experience reflect on mobile devices—especially the new search experience. That meant that searching, filtering, and sorting all needed to be optimized for mobile just the same. Now, DIR’s customers have all the power right at their fingertips.

DIR’s new website on mobile.

Other Graphics


Discovery Brief and Sitemap Docs

Icon System

DIR’s new website and design system are as refreshed and easy to use as they are helpful and valuable. We’re honored to partner with an agency that sees their customers just like we do: changemakers who are ready to move the needle in their communities. Interested in what our organizations can accomplish together? Drop us a line–—we’d love to chat!

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