This project demonstrates our experience working on a large scale public sector municipal web redesign, including:
- the development of a comprehensive web strategy;
- leading practices reviews of other jurisdictions;
- a review of the website analytics and performance metrics;
- workshops with internal stakeholders and external users of the website;
- interviews and working sessions across municipal departments;
- initiative development, roadmapping and implementation planning.
The Halifax Regional Municipality’s current website provides information and a limited number of services to public and business. Until recently, it had not been updated and improved for a number of years. A Website Refresh Project recently made great strides to improve look and feel, certain content as well as basic functionality to be more adaptive to mobile devices.
However, more strategic work needed to be done to further extend beyond a redesign, but to broader requirements for dynamic content management, forms and self-service structures that are accessible, adaptable, and scalable, as well as anticipating future needs downstream and new approaches to integrated service delivery to gain new efficiencies.
Halifax desired to transform their website with three specific objectives in mind:
- To meet current content, mobility and accessibility standards for Canadian municipal websites;
- To position the website to meet future needs, including citizen and business self-service;
- To develop a web governance structure over time that integrates with a more encompassing future service strategy. ForwardVu Solutions consultants approached this task by taking the following steps in the creation of a Web and Digital Transformation Strategy and Roadmap;
- Reviewed existing documents and reports to leverage efforts completed to date to provide a picture of the current state and direction. This helped to align the strategic direction of the City with the formulation and recommendations of the web vision, strategy, and roadmap;
- A review of other jurisdictions was conducted to provide benchmarking and observation of successful implementations of specific components and relevant best practices;
- A review of analytics and performance metrics to evolve the vision;
- Workshops were held with users representing business units within the City, the general public, and the business community;
- In-person interviews were held with the Mayor, members of Council and Senior Executives within Halifax;
- Interviews and workshops were held with the Information, Communications and Technology Division to gain a high-level understanding of the IT infrastructure and applications as well as the current web publishing processes.
The methodology involved a customer and stakeholder approach using participants with high citizen contact that identified valued features and functionalities while providing more focused approaches to help guide the future re-design, build and improvement initiatives.
To address the existing issues and to achieve the objective of a renewed website, a series of recommendations and implementation options that included a SaaS approach were identified and grouped together to form a series of roadmap initiatives. This roadmap defined the initiatives required for the web renewal and included a timeline for implementation and a costing model for funding purposes.
ForwardVu Solutions identified key opportunities for enhancement of service delivery and information which will be more accessible, more convenient, and more operationally efficient via the web and through mobile devices. ForwardVu Solutions designed a strong and sustainable online presence that will service citizens and businesses in the years to come.
ForwardVu continues to work with the City of Halifax and is currently contracted to support the revision and migration of new content for the website upon procurement of new technology anticipated in September 2016.