Council Website Design – the user journey is key

All council websites carry vast amounts of information. They act as portals for people to pay bills, report issues, find their nearest recycling centre and access council services. They need to appeal to the widest target audience with varying computer abilities. Our constant focus throughout this project was to ensure every user could access the right information quickly and easily.

Final site design

Our Process

Evaluate

Working closely with the client we identified the main problems with the existing website. Feedback from resident consultation was also used to build a list of priorities.

These included:

  • Design a consistent visual approach
  • Establish a easy to navigate menu system
  • Improve accessibility to key information

Prototype

We designed wireframes to demonstrate the layout and presentation of content. This was used to test how a user finds their way around the website. Navigation, menus, call to action ‘hero sliders’ and feature content was all wire-framed.


As key elements were refined, tested and signed off we then began to produce flat artwork layouts for key pages bringing in colour, designing buttons, graphic elements and establishing the overall visual framework.

Design

Master templates were designed for every identified page type. All stages of the website homepage were designed this included multiple header variations, expand and collapse side menu bar, central information slider and section web elements. By referring to existing content we were able to ensure that a template existed for every possible content type from image gallery to enquiry form and many variations in between.

In total 20 master layouts were designed.

Develop

The client had some in-house development provision and had selected Sharepoint as the website platform and for on-going content management. Using our high level of experience in development we liaised with
the technical team and supplied fully valid and compliant XHTML and CSS templates which were W3C level Double-A compliant.

In addition we provided an accompanying palette of graphics, header images, hero sliders and navigation icons to ensure the website had all
the material it needed to go live.


The Solution

Since it’s roll out in early 2011 user feedback has been very positive. Data on site usage shows use of online facilities has grown and complaints fallen dramatically. Despite handing full management over to the client, the framework we developed has allowed for content changes and additions whilst maintaining a consistent user journey.

Following our well established project process ensured that the end result has delivered on the key project focus – a council website that is easy to use and balances functionality and design.

  • 640 hours of design and consultation
  • Over 30 unique layout
  • 84 bespoke icons and buttons
  • Roll out date – 2 February 2011
  • Awards – Good Communications Award,
  • Website rated ‘Excellent’ by socitm

If you want to find out more information, please feel free to give give a call on 01732 743 455 or alternatively you can send an email to matt@hanselldesign.co.uk