Dublin City Council A modern website for a modern council
Dublin City Council are the biggest local authority in Ireland. Providing services to over half a million citizens and thousands of businesses is of course complex. Unfortunately, that complexity had made its way onto the dublincity.ie website. Our job was to simplify it.
Dublin City Council (DCC) is the biggest local authority in Ireland. DCC is responsible for housing and community services, roads and transportation, urban planning and development, culture and the environment, Dublin Fire Brigade and more. They serve over half a million citizens and thousands of businesses, keeping the city living, working, playing and safe.
The Council do great work and that work requires a complex ecosystem. Unfortunately, the complexity of the organisation had made its way into their online presence.
They enlisted us to help them simplify it. We had to deliver a web experience that would help their users to access services easily while also helping DCC to become more efficient.
Together with Annertech and Ennovation Solutions we worked to deliver a best-in-class, responsive and flexible website solution that served to deliver content in an intuitive and concise way, underpinned by a modular design system and CMS.
We gathered a team of strategists, UX designers, content writers and editors and set to work. The first step was to understand the scale of the problem, from both internal and external perspectives.
We conducted on site customer research where we asked people waiting in The Council’s Wood Quay offices whether they had considered using the website or not. We then brought them through the process of how they could access the service they were seeking online and recorded their feedback live.
We also held departmental workshops with DCC employees. The focus of these workshops was empathy. We used user personas and data gathered from consumer research to help DCC employees to see the site from the user’s perspective. From there we asked them to assess the current sitemap and content for their department and identify potential roadblocks for the user.
As the vast majority of the content for the new site would be written by DCC employees we also used these workshops to give them a crash course in writing for the web. Using content from their existing site, we showed them how it could be improved by applying best practices.
Content and Editorial Support
The new dublincity.ie site required a lot of content, over 700 pages worth. The majority of it was written by DCC employees who had attended our empathy workshops.
Before content was in production, we developed templates for every possible kind of page that outlined what information should go where. Each department had an assigned editor that they could easily reach online. For those who needed more help, we held clinics in the DCC offices where content writers could drop in and pick our editors’ brains.
While the majority of the content was written by DCC, some departments needed additional support, like Parks. We assigned a content writer to that department. They worked with internal stakeholders to make sure content was informative, engaging and consistent.
Information Architecture and Wireframing
During our workshops we had optimised the sitemap with input from DCC employees. This allowed us to develop an informed information architecture and intelligent, accessible wireframes.
We designed all site components, as well as the functional spec of more complex elements such as the location finder and search. Accessibility and load time were always top of mind, as such the site design is deceptively simple. It had to be to make services from 11 different departments easy to access and avail of.
We then developed a comprehensive set of website design guidelines that gave the developers a detailed roadmap to the finished site.
Support and oversight
As the project proceeded into the development phase we handed over the reigns to our partners in Annertech who were tasked with the development and integration of each component into Drupal and the import and implementation of all content into the new site structure.
We have provided support throughout the build and also reviewed the final site before go-live. We will continue to provide ongoing support, ensuring that the new dublincity.ie will fulfill the needs of the council and its customers for years to come.
By putting the user and their needs at the centre of this project, at every stage, we have revolutionised how the people of Dublin city will access Council services.
It is now easier to see what facilities are in your local park, apply for a parking permit, report illegal dumping, or apply for social housing. As a result, the Council will be able to operate more efficiently by handling more service requests online.