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Needs Assessment Session
The first step is a strategic approach to assess the needs of the government organisation, including identifying long-term objectives and internal and external influences. This video call session normally takes one to three hours and will generally involve key stakeholders, such as the technical officer, board members, key marketing, and stakeholders.
During this session what we intend to discover includes: departmental drivers and objectives, the purpose of the website, required website outcomes, security requirements, problems with the existing site, routes to market, marketing strategy, and what the website should do – is it a static brochure or an interactive portfolio tool, the front to a department, or a complete asset reservation system? Our government clients are the experts in their business, so we will also explore what websites they do and do not like and identify how and departmental restrictions or limitations may apply.
Additionally, we will determine the available budget; in having a clear range from the outset our team can then recommend solutions and specifics based on the budget available. Lastly, we look at establishing milestones: it is good to establish realistic expectations from the outset as a website build can take anything from six weeks to six months, depending on the scale and complexity of the site.
This includes desk research, such as inter-agency and industry research. We also conduct user interviews to discover responses and opinions about the current website (if one exists) or to test out potential end-customer thoughts on what they would require from the website.
We will review existing analytics and data gathered from user tracking via tools to assess vital information about user behaviour within the existing website.
Site Mission Objectives
Here we investigate what client and business needs the website must address, and what functionality is required to achieve this. At the top level the website goals could be to provide public services, educate, share content or take reservations. We will then dive deeper and identify metrics required to support achievement of the mission objectives. These objectives could be: increasing the number of monthly unique visitors, page views, reducing bounce rate, meeting public outreach targets, boosting engagement in content and followers, building email subscribers, search ranking, improving content quality, encouraging downloads, conversions, promoting civic action, reducing admin around enquiries or media attention.
Starting with the viewpoint of any challenges the agency is facing, or objectives the department wants to maximise, we use Google Analytics among other tools to study the current site performance. We are looking for data such as most visited pages, organic keywords, desktop vs mobile traffic, site search, user flow, pages that users ‘drop off’, average view time, bounce rate, marketing tools or priority focus areas. Generally, at least 1 year’s data is required to generate an accurate history of performance.
If we are developing a new website without any historical precedent, we will focus more on early analytics during the first weeks and months and adjust accordingly.
Conversions come in many forms including offers redeemed, online contacts, phone calls recorded from site, call-back requests, contact form completion, or download content requests. We will also assess what elements are converting well, and not so well. Conversion rates may or may not apply and will be considered differently for each government agency. If there is an existing website, we will proceed using the site as a client would and use our findings to inform our suggested solution.
User Persona Creation
Crucial to the process, this involves developing typical user profiles and informs the design process. User personas are fictional characters that describe each type of potential user. Having detailed personas means we can design the best user experience. There may be different types of users within each segment, for example: prospective, existing, or returning client, media, potential employees, regulators, and auditors.
By learning about each type of user’s needs, and creating a user flow chart, we can enhance the experience of each user and make sure they achieve their goals on the website in a shorter transaction time.
A sitemap is similar to a content table. We identify pages and the hierarchy of the pages in addition to the links between pages. If we are redesigning an old website, we decide the pages to keep or remove and may restructure the top-level navigation to improve the user experience.
Lo-fi Wireframes Creation
Wireframes are similar to the blueprint for the website and helps us to better prioritise content. We create this wireframe site outlined a starting point for the visual design and structure of the website. This helps to better illustrate how the content and functionality will be laid out on a page while considering user needs and journey.
Course Illustration Creation
We map out the users’ course through the site from first hit to the end objective. From a client’s perspective, this is essential as we want to make sure each persona and segments of the target audience can access the information they need and then act accordingly and efficiently.
Technical Specification Executive Report
The technical specification executive report goes into great detail outlining how we will design and develop the website. Where the website is at the core of the government agency or department, specific security requirements, accessibility requirements. We will also look at other elements such as, loading times or any legal consideration.
All our findings and recommendations are then pulled together into a comprehensive technical document.