The Presidential Innovation Fellows website

The Presidential Innovation Fellows website is developed using the U.S. Web Design System v 2.0 and is focused on providing developers a starter kit and reference implementation for Federalist websites.

This code uses the Jekyll site engine and built with Ruby. If you prefer to use Javascript, check out federalist-uswds-gatsby, which uses Gatsby site engine.

This project assumes that you are comfortable editing source code. If you prefer to launch a website without editing any source code, checkout uswds-jekyll, which allows you to change the layout and content with configuration files.

This project strives to be compliant with requirements set by 21st Century IDEA Act. The standards require that a website or digital service:

  • is accessible to individuals with disabilities;
  • has a consistent appearance;
  • does not duplicate any legacy websites (the legislation also requires agencies to ensure that legacy websites are regularly reviewed, removed, and consolidated);
  • has a search function;
  • uses an industry standard secure connection;
  • “is designed around user needs with data-driven analysis influencing management and development decisions, using qualitative and quantitative data to determine user goals, needs, and behaviors, and continually test the website, web-based form, web-based application, or digital service to ensure that user needs are addressed;”
  • allows for user customization; and
  • is mobile-friendly.

Key Functionality

This repository contains the following examples and functionality:

✅ Publish blog posts, press releases, announcements, etc. To modify this code, check out blog/index.html, which manages how the posts are listed. You should then check out _layouts/post.html to see how individual posts are structured.

✅ Publish single one-off pages. Instead of creating lots of folders throughout the root directory, you should put single pages in _pages folder and change the permalink at the top of each page. Use sub-folders only when you really need to.

✅ Publish data (for example: job listings, links, references), you can use the template _layouts/data.html. Just create a file in you _pages folder with the following options:

title: Collections Page
layout: data
permalink: /collections
datafile: collections

The reference to datafile referers to the name of the file in _data/collections.yml and loops through the values. Feel free to modify this as needed.

✅ There are two different kinds of pages, one does not have a side bar navigation, and the other uses _includes/sidenav.html. You can enable this option by adding sidenav: true to your page front matter.

title: Document with Sidenav
layout: page
sidenav: true
permalink: /document-with-sidenav

✅ Enable search with by adding option to _config.yml.

  endpoint:  # You should not change this.
  affiliate: federalist-uswds-example # replace this with your account
  access_key: your-access-key # This is placeholder. Not private.
  inline: true #this renders the results on the same domain. Otherwise, it will render the results in the domain

How to edit

  • Non-developers should focus on editing markdown content in the _posts and _pages folder

  • We try to keep configuration options to a minimum so you can easily change functionality. You should review _config.yml to see the options that are available to you. There are a few values on top that you need to change. They refer to the agency name and contact information. The rest of _config.yml has a range of more advanced options.

  • The contents inside assets/ folder store your Javascript, SCSS/CSS, images, and other media assets are managed by jekyll-assets. Assets are combined, compressed, and automatically available in your theme

  • If you look at package.json you will see that the npm run federalist command that will run when running on the Federalist platform.

  • Do not edit files in the _site/ folder. These files are auto-generated, and any change you make in the folder will be overwritten.

  • To edit the look and feel of the site, you need to edit files in _includes/ folder, which render key components, like the menu, side navigation, and logos.

  • index.html may not require much editing, depending on how you customize hero.html and highlights.html.

  • _layouts/ may require the least amount of editing of all the files since they are primarily responsible for printing the content.

  • blog/index.html can be edited, but be careful. It will impact the pagination system for the posts. If you do edit the file, be prepared to edit _config.yml. For example, you may need go change configurations for jekyll-paginate-v2

  • search/index.html is used by

usa anchor

This repo adapts the USA anchor, which can be found in _layout/anchor.html. The data to populate this file is found in the _data/usa_anchor.yaml.


Clone the repository.

$ git clone
$ cd pif-website

Install the Node.js dependencies.

$ npm install

Build the site.

$ npm run build

Run the site locally.

$ npm start

Open your web browser to localhost:4000 to view your site.

After you make changes, be sure to run the tests.

$ npm test

Note that when built by Federalist, npm run federalist is used instead of the build script.

Technologies you should familiarize yourself with

  • Jekyll - The primary site engine that builds your code and content.
  • Front Matter - The top of each page/post includes keywords within -- tags. This is meta data that helps Jekyll build the site, but you can also use it to pass custom variables.
  • U.S. Web Design System v 2.0


See CONTRIBUTING for additional information.

Public domain

This project is in the worldwide public domain. As stated in CONTRIBUTING:

This project is in the public domain within the United States, and copyright and related rights in the work worldwide are waived through the CC0 1.0 Universal public domain dedication.

All contributions to this project will be released under the CC0 dedication. By submitting a pull request, you are agreeing to comply with this waiver of copyright interest.