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Case Study

University of Michigan Health System

Building A Platform to Support Excellence in Patient Care, Education and Research

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Project Highlights

A unified web content management platform to support a wide variety of departmental and institutional sites.

  • Developed a unified Web content management platform to support a wide variety of departmental and institutional sites
  • Designed a cutting-edge responsive design system that seamlessly delivers content to visitors, regardless of what device they’re using to visit the site
  • Provided tools enabling point-and-click configuration of user access, workflow, and page layout

Our Client

The University of Michigan Health System is known nationally and around the world for excellence in patient care, education and research. The system includes the University of Michigan Medical School, as well as a statewide network of more than 120 hospitals, clinics, and other care facilities devoted to delivering cutting-edge research, education, and premier patient care. The University of Michigan Medical School is one of the top ten medical schools in the United States, and the Health System is consistently ranked among the top teaching hospitals in the nation.

What They Needed

The Michigan MultiMedia (M3) team is responsible for developing and maintaining a wide network of diverse websites that span the entire University of Michigan Health System. The M3 team wanted to create a unified Web content management platform that could accommodate the needs of the Medical School and other sites within the system to provide a more scalable and Web infrastructure.

To support this platform, they needed a flexible and responsive design system that would promote a more consistent look and feel across the system’s various Web properties as well as within the the main site.

How We Helped

As part of our comprehensive discovery and definition engagement, Palantir studied more than a dozen of the sites that would eventually be ported over into the new system to identify both common needs as well as edge case scenarios. The resulting design system not only provided both structure and brand consistency but it also provided the flexibility necessary to accommodate a wide range of content for a network of sites encompassing thousands of pages.

A key consideration was also ensuring that the design system would deliver an exceptional experience to visitors, regardless of whether they were using a desktop computer, laptop, tablet or smartphone. Palantir developed an HTML style guide and prototypes that demonstrated exactly how the layout works in a real-life browser environment and appears on a variety of devices. This also required developing a responsive navigation system that would enable visitors to browse even the most content-heavy sites in the system’s network on their mobile devices.

UofM Health's site displayed on various devices to showcase responsive design

Functionality was provided by Drupal, the industry-leading open source content management platform. Palantir’s team of Drupal experts worked closely with the M3 team to turn business requirements into technical specifications and to architect a platform tailored to the system’s needs.
Drupal’s Organic Groups and Panels modules enabled the configuration of different layouts and page types including video, slideshows, news, events, and more. User access and workflow functionality is provided by the Workbench suite of modules, ensuring content to be asynchronously added, edited, reviewed, and approved by appropriate personnel.

The Upshot

After the successful 2012 launch of the new sites for and the brand-new C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital (, Palantir then developed new responsive site designs for the main Medical School site. These, and other sites based on the platform and design system developed by Palantir, continue to be built and launched by the health system’s in-house development teams.

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