Organization: Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing
Project
: Refresh of corporate ministry website and content management system
Year: 2007-2008
Position: Web Communications Advisor

CHALLENGE

The corporate ministry site was going to upgrade its content management system (CMS) to a new version. It was decided that at the same time, the site would be the first ministry to adopt a new corporate look that would align to newer web 2.0 standards, include social media channels, and embrace new accessibility legislation.

REQUIREMENTS AND PLANNING

The requirements of this project were very complex and involved everything from front-end look and feel, vendor coordination, test planning, to server considerations during the migration and cut-over during launch.

Stakeholder and external vendors had to be engaged and constantly monitored in order to ensure a successful launch and reduce risks.

PERSONAS AND MOCK-UPS

Based on findings from focus groups and members of the public, our team created different personas to represent the different kinds of people who might use the Second Career advice or services.

They were mainly from different manufacturing sectors (automobile, appliances, electronics), service sectors.

Additionally, we had to think of different gender, age, ethnographic and linguistic personas to add to the list of people we would be communicating to.

RESEARCH

The new corporate look and feel was a huge departure from the previous site. To better understand the new requirements of including social media, longer scrolling pages, new layouts using wider resolutions, etc., I conducted benchmarking of best-in-class web sites from public institutions and organizations from around the world and created a cost benefit analysis.

The new look would also impact approximately 2000 internal ministry users of the site, many of them who had publishing responsibilities. The changes would affect the interface that they were using to create and update pages, along with a few new workflows.

Focus groups were created and internal surveys were sent out to create awareness and identify pain points for staff. These results were analyzed and used to create a set of risk and opportunities and used to structure a change management and communication strategy.

 

PERSONAS AND MOCK-UPS

Personas of different users from the public and internal publishers were created and used to build journey maps. These were especially helpful in identifying change management challenges for slightly different work-flows.

LAYOUT, ACCESSIBILITY AND INTERFACE

The Ontario government was in the process of thinking all aspects of public communications, including web and social media.

A new, cleaner brand was established and a new tone of voice for all communications was developed. New accessibility laws were established and all materials had to conform to the new legislation.

To compliment this, and keep pace with new web trends, the government wanted to adopt a new, cleaner template that reduced colours, embraced more white space, adopted higher resolutions, dynamic banners, promoted scrolling and and embraced fat-footers.

Our team worked with the government’s central communications and innovation team (Cabinet Office) to develop mockups with various treatments, flexible layouts, and font families.

Once a look and feel was determined, we worked with the front-end developers in Cabinet Office to create a new CSS that would be integrated

USER TESTING AND TECHNICAL TESTING

While developing the new template look and feel, mockups were tested with internal government staff and some key focus groups from the general public.

A rigorous regression test plan prior to the migration of the site  developed and and successfully implemented.

TRAINING DEVELOPMENT

Our team developed a training program for internal publishers to learn of the changes to the interface and any changes to workflows or publishing functionality.

KEY PERFORMANCE INDICATORS AND MEASUREMENT

Success of the new template would be measured against indicators that dealt with how fast and effectively users were able to find information, a decrease in help emails, and a decrease in drop off sessions.

Our measurement methods focused on weekly data analytics analysis and monitoring of help emails received.

OUTCOME

The site and new CMS were launched successfully over a weekend with no issues.

By studying web analytics, we found that the public was using the site in a more efficient way, finding what they were looking for easier and drop offs were significantly reduced.