We're thrilled to announce that The Public Service Commission's website transformation project has won two Gold Quill awards of Excellence from the International Association of Business Communicators, including Best of the Best for Communication for the Web. Here, the team share the story of this pioneering project.

Why we had to make a change

Customer research demonstrated that our website wasn't meeting user needs. Some of the key discoveries included:

  • information was long and complicated, making it too difficult to be applied by people in their work
  • the search function was abandoned because it didn't bring helpful results
  • page session times were relatively short and bounce rates high

An audit of the website rated it more than 50% lower than other government websites across core criteria including:

  • information architecture
  • navigation
  • brand consistency
  • clear purpose
  • empathy

The website had become a reflection of the ways of working within the PSC, as teams worked individually on their own website sections without prioritising a unified brand or consistent customer experience.

Using content design to deliver for our customers

The data showed there were two things that were critical to the ongoing success of the website – improving content discoverability and establishing a clear and consistent process for content creation.

This project was completed using a two-phase approach over 10 months.

Phase 1

Approach

Dedicated to discovery and used human-centered design to develop a new internal process for content creation. It resulted in a proof-of-concept website. This phase allowed us to learn, test and refine as well as gain stakeholder confidence in our methods.

Result

We established the new content design process as a partnership, running 'decision-making' sessions with managers and asking them to nominate content ambassadors from their teams. Training and working alongside ambassadors allowed us to achieve our milestones despite the challenges of the pandemic and remote working. Basing decisions on customer data reassured staff that important content would not be lost.

Phase 2

Approach

This is where we scaled up, working with web developers Visual Metrics to build the whole site. We prioritised discoverability by updating our information architecture to include descriptors of site sections, using the Design System

Result

We were able to improve how users scanned and navigated through content pages and consolidated satellite sites into our main website. We also collaborated with 14 internal teams over 6 weeks to implement the new content process, efficiently redesigning content for migration.

Improving collaboration

Increasing internal collaboration was a key enabler for achieving best practice content design and improving customer engagement with PSC products and services.

Our content design process is now widely used across the PSC and has been used for the refresh of another 2 PSC managed websites – I work for NSW and Senior Executive Fundamentals.

It was equally important to collaborate with sector partners on best practice digital design and branding to ensure we were creating a product that aligned with NSW Government standards. Regular discussions with the Digital Service Toolkit and Branding teams ensured we were meeting these standards and still retaining our agency identity.

 

The Public Service Commission’s website Before and After
Before and After

Delivering results

Results show that the website transformation has improved customers' ability to find and engage with content:

'What I need most is there, right there… this is very, very useful' – HR Manager

Our new content design process streamlined the site from 600 to 400 pages and increased collaboration across the organisation:

'The experience has never been as good as this' – Content creatorr

Other key measures of success include:

  • an average score of 4.3 out of 5 for user rated experience of using the new site
  • an increase of 41% for use of the website search functionality
  • a significant decrease to the bounce rate on website pages.

Learn more about the products and services we offer to enable a world class public sector.

Working on something similar? Feel free to get in touch or check out our video for a snapshot of our process and lessons learned.