Content is king: the DNA of designing a citizen-centred local authority website for dlrcoco.ie

A 45 minute Case Study by:

Daniel Alb

Monsoon Consulting

Slides from session

The slides used for this session are available to download from here.

About this Case Study

Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown (DLR) County Council is the local authority for Dun Laoghaire Rathdown county, delivering high quality services and infrastructure for its population including local parks, sports and leisure services, housing, libraries, arts and cultural activities, planning, economic development, local tourism, environment and waste management.

Making a strategic decision to move away from the large number of disparate web platforms that had been developed by both the internal team and a mix of external providers, the DLR IT team selected Monsoon Consulting as the partner to design and build the next generation of DLR websites and an intranet platform.

The goal was set to design a user-centred, easily managed, responsive public service website to better showcase and promote the wide range of services and activities offered to DLR residents, visitors and businesses, and to establish an architecture for future distributed content publishing.

In this session I'll discuss design insights from the recent redesign of dlrcoco.ie website. The Monsoon Consulting design team employed a user-centred discovery and design process using agile methodology to manage change and constantly iterate on proposed solutions.

We conducted internal DLR project stakeholder meetings to understand the nature of the requirement, the current issues being faced and the nature of the content users needed. We interviewed representatives from all the internal departments, holding various positions within the County Council, to get an in-depth understanding of internal processes and communication channels.

We undertook website audience discovery workshops to identify user groups and create proto-personas, used as a starting point from which to begin evaluating early design hypotheses. Our team developed a new information architecture centred around services delivered to citizens, rather than internal departments, and started to work on the user journeys based on the new architecture.

A specific element of the discovery phase centred around content management. The structure of the website needed to accommodate internal content editors with specific content management permissions. This requirement was reflected in both the Information Architecture and the backend administration management.

The design process was iterative, constantly evolving the solution as more information was available through continuous discovery. A wireframe-based prototype covering the major user journeys was developed and used to test the design solutions. Adopting agile methodology for the design and build of this project allowed us to quickly develop solutions and adjust the implementation as requirements evolved.

The designers working within the project team evolved the wireframes into a set of high fidelity mockups to explore the ‘look and feel’ and the user interactions. We also developed a content style guide to ensure consistency across the entire platform. We designed tablet and mobile views for all the content types alongside the desktop templates, used for discussion, refinement and sign-off within the project team.

The dlrcoco.ie website is a large content platform with the potential to reach a large audience, from residents (over 200,000 citizens), to visitors and local businesses. This project showcases an end-to-end solution delivered to a local government that will improve access to information for all the website visitors and the content generation and management for DLR internal web team.

About the Speaker

Daniel Alb is UX/UI Design Lead at Monsoon Consulting. His focus is to provide clients with functional, user-centred designs for enterprise content and ecommerce web platforms. Daniel has over 15 years' experience on all sides of a software product, from branding and visual design to user experience, user interface and interaction. He has worked with clients from multiple business verticals including health, food, lifestyle and local government.

Daniel holds an MSc in cyberpsychology from IADT, and day to day, he is involved in user research, architecting and prototyping the user experience for various projects. He is coordinating the efforts of the design team, experimenting and aligning the internal processes to the latest trends and technologies, and has talked design at various Magento and Drupal Meetups in Dublin.

Previously a freelancer, Daniel is well travelled, having spent time in several European countries and a stint in Vancouver, Canada. He’s a keen photographer, and maker of delicious gourmet sandwiches. An American Football freak, when he starts talking yardage and field goals everyone tunes out.

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