Calgary.ca's new homepage
In 2011, calgary.ca was redesigned. Learn why we changed calgary.ca or read more below about the steps we took when redeveloping and revitalizing our web presence.
The mission of calgary.ca is to be:
- Comprehensive in its provision of information and services.
- Positioned to be the channel of choice for all citizens.
Leading-edge in its use of emerging technologies.
- Focused primarily on the customer experience.
The calgary.ca redesign is an example of a Transforming Government
Why do we need a new calgary.ca?
- Calgary has grown and so has the growth in demand for services.
- Calgarians have told us they are ready for more service delivery via the web, and they want the ability to find information quickly and easily.
- Technology has evolved since calgary.ca was launched in 2002.
- A new calgary.ca will help support The City’s corporate direction — to deliver quality public services; to support council and increase accountability; and to strengthen the workplace.
The Web Leadership and Renewal program was formed in 2007 following The City’s decision to fund improvements to the existing web environment. This program funded the development of the new calgary.ca.
Phase one of the calgary.ca project began in November 2009 and involved research evaluation and the development of the website blueprint. From then, the team began development work on the features you see today. The overall project budget for calgary.ca was $3.2 million and included development work on components like the interactive map, mobile, calendar, get involved, and the content management system.
On August 8, 2011, The City of Calgary released a preview of the website to the public. After receiving public feedback that was both positive and helpful in correcting any errors, the City officially announced the new website on August 15th, 2011.
Research & Engagement Overview
The calgary.ca project includes the external-facing web presence which represents more than 16,000 pages of content, across 28 business units, with a wide variety of applications, functionality, documents and information for our citizens. This external web presence handled a total of 9 million visitors in 2010.
The project team conducted several external and internal research studies. We reviewed basic demographics, website users, the impact of technology and internet usage, completed studies on what the needs of the corporation were and measured perceptions and attitudes towards the initial design concepts. Below are some interesting findings from a sample of the research we completed.
Citizen concept check-in
A citizen concept check-in helped determine the look and feel of the website, as well as determine usability issues. As a direct result of these findings, the project team was able to create a design that was intuitive to citizens and provided information in a clear and concise manner.
"The functionality is a lot better than the current site."
We learned that:
- A good search engine must deliver to the user good quality information.
- The search concept — while a departure from the traditional website approach, is a good change. It is in-line with the public’s increasingly more common approach of searching for information online.
- Smartphone users said that it was important for the new site to detect when being accessed from a mobile device.
Calgary.ca usability testing
Usability testing is part of a user-centered design process. Usability measures the quality of a users experience when interacting with a product or system - whether it's a website, a software application, mobile technology, or any user-operated device. The City hosted two usability sessions, one with employees and one with the public.
"I didn’t like this at first, but now that I’ve used it it’s really won me over. I keep thinking it won't work because of the current calgary.ca site, but this search works!"
Some of our key learnings from usability sessions were:
- Users needed some time adjust to the Google-style of the website. Once they were comfortable, they easily adjusted.
- Make it clear that new calgary.ca search does not work like old calgary.ca search.
- Participants loved the clean look of the images and the scenery images.
- Users were less inclined to use social media, those without Facebook accounts, noted they would copy and paste the link to an email to send it.
- No user had difficulty locating information on the mobile device.
In August 2011, we launched the new calgary.ca website with improved Search Engine Optimization that never presumes to know what a user wants but always knows to ask. This innovation reduced the need to browse through connected pages and improved the likelihood that users would get what they need on the first click. In a post-launch usability test conducted by Ipsos Reid, completion rate of tasks on the site was improved by 63 per cent. There was also a fivefold increase in tasks rated as “very easy” to complete — 12 per cent vs. 64 per cent.