The Council's award-winning website represents a significant leap in digital public service delivery, marrying a sleek, modern user interface with functionality geared toward efficiency and user satisfaction.
This case study explores the process behind the site's creation, highlighting the strategic approach and technological solutions employed to overcome the challenges of a compressed timeframe and the complex requirements of a government entity.
Analysis and Planning
The first phase of the project involved a meticulous examination of the existing website and services offered by the Council. This comprehensive analysis aimed to understand the current content structure, user interaction patterns, and underlying challenges.
- Content Audit: A detailed content audit was conducted to assess the information's organisation, relevance, and accessibility.
- Workshops: Collaborative workshops with various stakeholders helped to crystallise the vision and design requirements for the new site.
With the plan in place, the project then moved to Information Architecture.
- Objective: The primary aim was to streamline the site to create a more coherent hierarchy and display of content, enhancing the user's ability to quickly discover necessary information.
- Navigation Testing with Treejack: This tool was utilised to analyse and evaluate the site's navigation. It enabled the team to understand how users would traverse the site, leading to data-driven improvements in navigation structure.
- Backend Flexibility: Recognising the limitations of the compressed timeframe, the backend was deliberately designed to allow late-stage alterations to the content structure and navigational pathways, ensuring adaptability and resilience.
The User Experience (UX) design phase prioritised interaction and accessibility:
- Interaction Over Content: A focus on interactive elements was emphasised to facilitate user engagement.
- Multiple Pathways to Content: To cater to different user needs and behaviors, various pathways to content were created.
- Modular, Pattern-Based Approach: This approach enabled a flexible and cohesive design that could adapt to different content types and user needs.
Development and Deployment
Built on Umbraco, an enterprise-class Content Management System (CMS), and hosted on Microsoft Azure, the site's technological foundation was robust:
- Mobile Optimisation: Special attention was given to optimising images and interactions for touch-specific devices, ensuring a seamless experience across Windows, Android, and Apple platforms.
- Integrations: The site features integrations with various essential services, including payments, calendars, document management, and Azure AD B2C for personalised content.
- Backend Scaffold: The utilisation of a backend scaffold expedited the development, allowing the content team to begin work even before the design was finalised, thus mitigating risks around the delivery timeline.
The Council's website was honored with the "Most Improved" and "Supreme Website" awards at ALGIM's Spring Conference in 2019, a testament to its excellence in design, functionality, and user satisfaction.
The Council's website transformation journey demonstrates the power of strategic planning, user-centered design, technological innovation, and agile development. By focusing on user needs and employing cutting-edge tools and methodologies, the project team was able to create a sophisticated, award-winning site that not only looks great but also empowers users to efficiently accomplish their tasks online. The website serves as a compelling example of how a government entity can harness digital technology to enhance public service delivery, reflecting a forward-thinking approach that sets a new benchmark for others to follow.