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The Challenge

Create a modern, customer focused site with a renewed emphasis on getting things done online.

In 2017 the Council's website was languishing in the bottom quartile of ALGIM's local government rankings. The site had issues with accessibility, content structure, and a lack of customer interaction points.

Mid-way through 2018 we were engaged to help fix the problem. The goal, was to improve the customer experience to the point where would hit the top 10.

And we needed to get all done from start to finish in four months.

Our Role

  • Business analysis
  • Information architecture
  • UX and UI design
  • CMS implementation
  • Systems Integration
  • Support and Maintenance

The Process 


Information Architecture

A detailed analysis of the Council’s website and services was followed by a content audit and workshops to determine the new content structure (sitemap). The aim was to streamline the site for better hierarchy and display of content for fast and easy discovery. We then used Treejack to test the navigation and make improvements

Because of the compressed timeframe, we knew we wouldn't be able to spend the time to get it perfect up front, so we made sure that the backend solution was built in a way to permit late changes to the content structure and the navigational pathways.


The Council was sitting on a quietly hidden treasure trove of incredible imagery, so collectively we made the decision to feature the natural beauty of the Bay of Plenty in the site design. The UX design prioritises interaction over content, provides multiple pathways to content, all delivered using a modular, pattern based approach.


The site was built on Umbraco, an enterprise class CMS, with hosting in Microsoft Azure. Special consideration was given to mobile optimisation of images, touch specific interactions and use of technologies supported across Windows, Android and Apple devices. The solution also features a number of integrations including payments, calendars, document management, and Azure AD B2C for content personalisation.

We utilised a backend scaffold that allowed us to quickly get the site into a state where content could be entered. This meant that the content team was able to start work before the design had been completely finished mitigating risk around the delivery timeline.



Flexible Navigation Structures

After numerous IA iterations we knew that the system would need to adapt to changing needs, so we created navigation structures that can operate independently of the content hierarchy for maximum flexibility. A mega menu is used to present a broad picture of available content, making it easier for users to locate content intuitively with fewer clicks, and fewer false starts.

Transactional Focus

User research told us that visitors wanted to be able to get things done. So we brought the transactional features onto the homepage, and added a Do It Online section to the main navigation.

Personalised Content

To facilitate greater user engagement, the projects area of the site can be personalised. Users authenticate using Azure AD B2C and are then able to save projects as watched, and receive notifications as tagged content on the site is updated.

Custom Forms Module

A custom form module was built that allows content authors to create custom forms and triggered workflows without needing development resource.

The Results

An interim ALGIM audit conducted in May 2019 showed the website ranking moving into the top quartile with a score of 88%, a significant improvement from the original 2017 score of 40%.

At the ALGIM Spring Conference, 16-18 September 2019, Bay of Plenty Regional Council won "Most Improved", and the "Supreme Website" award putting it at #1 in the rankings.

See Bay of Plenty Regional Council's website

Prue Sisam | Bay of Plenty Regional Council

Prue Sisam | Bay of Plenty Regional Council

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