Dane County Digital Strategy
Dane County, Wisconsin, is home to more than 500,000 residents within 60 cities, villages, and towns. The Dane County website serves residents, workers, and visitors and is a conduit to hundreds of government, business and recreation websites.
Dane County's website experience was hindered with an outdated design, accessibility issues, and over 50,000 pages to manage. After stakeholder interviews with county departments, we discovered a long list of challenges:
- Un-intuitive navigation
- Outdated content
- Confusing naming conventions
- Uninviting imagery
- Poor search functionality
- Multiple Content Management Systems
- Missing content
- Mixed messaging
- Content without owners
- ADA compliance
Phase one focuses on navigation, content, and usability of the Dane County Government portal.
Before we could implement any changes, we needed to explore operational efficiencies. We needed to immerse ourselves into the various departments and get to know their audiences.
Federated Experience Design
Creation of user personas and user journeys for residents, visitors, businesses and vendors guided the visual experience. Cohesive wireframes and visual designs ensured templates, modules and features could be easily be used across departments
A full scale content evaluation of the current department websites was required and partnering with the client we mapped out what content to keep, update, or trash.
Keyword research helped inventory which web pages added value, which didn’t, and which could be combined for a better user experience. We revised content to make sure it was on "brand", included keywords, and without broken links or outdated messaging.
Dane County desired to utilize a proprietary .NET-based Content Management System as the backbone of their entire transformation. After completing department stakeholder interviews we defined new capabilities and functional requirements for the CMS. Together, our development teams have extended features and scaled CMS capabilities to the federated level.
We implemented Azure Search and put it front and center on the Dane County Government portal homepage. Everyone, no matter what they’re looking for, has a highly-intuitive starting point for their on-site searches.
New navigation standards were defined, and visually optimized for desktop and mobile experiences, to support navigation patterns that could be used in a federated approach across all Dane County department websites. Simplified semantics and supportive explanations of services were developed to make finding critical content intuitive.
We conducted audits and followed best practices to ensure the website is ADA compliant. In addition, notification features were added to support emergency messages and safety notices.
The benefits of Dane County’s new website have already impacted operations. The user experience, workflow and page updating process is drastically improved and has been approved by the County Executive Joe Parisi. This is a huge leap in setting new standards and tones for the county and the way they communicate to their constituents.