The Resources Division of the Victorian Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions wanted their redeveloped Earth Resources website to be the go-to government online resource for key industry, community and geoscience stakeholders, as well as the capacity for providing seamless digital services into the future.
Our first step was to conduct extensive user research with all user types. This research revealed:
– a site that was difficult to use
– important information was often hidden under multiple layers
– content was often dense, duplicated and inaccurate
– a lack of clear processes made it difficult to complete common tasks
– and it was not WCAG 2.0 compliant for accessibility.
To investigate the deep and internal-facing information structure, hidden content and navigation issues we conducted:
– An expert review and comparative benchmarking analysis of the Earth Resources website with three peer sites.
– 4 workshops with Resources Division strategic stakeholders from across industry, community and government
– 32 interviews with key stakeholders from across government, licence holders, industry and community
– an online survey of 70 participants to provide quantitative information from the broader group of Earth Resources website user groups
– an online card sort activity with 23 participants to discover how users group like terms used across the Earth Resources website and other similar industry websites
– tree testing and first click test activities with a small sample of 6 representative stakeholders to evaluate the proposed information architecture, the desktop, and mobile wireframes.
We developed a new user-centric IA model supported by 14 recommendations that aligned with the Ministerial Expectations for the Earth Resources Sector with realistic actions for content, visual design and enhanced functionality, as well as a timeline and costs to support the development and ongoing maintenance of the site.
We analysed the quantitative and qualitative data from our research and in close consultation with the project team, we developed:
– a topic-based and logical information architecture and navigation model to expose and order priority user tasks, online systems and related information and assets
– responsive wireframes and high-level functional specifications featuring direct paths to priority content, key user tasks, guidance for priority tools, a variety of content formats and types, and contextual linking
– five personas representing how typical users interact with the website, their top tasks, pain points, preferred devices and touchpoints
– recommendations for a phased approach to developing a central repository of all assets and an enhanced keyword and custom search for all content and assets
– recommendations for greater community engagement and notifications (eg newly released policies, changes to legislation, mine closures, upcoming community consultations and events)
– a timeline and costs to support the development and ongoing maintenance of the site.
The result was a realistic phased development plan for the design, content development and build phases for a new Earth Resources website that meets the needs of all users.
See the website at www.earthresources.vic.gov.au.