The new website design for the City of Colorado Springs emphasizes less is more. Users can easily find what they're looking for and absorb the content without any distraction. This provides a more enjoyable user experience that focuses on the essential elements of featured items and avoids unnecessary clutter.
We supplied each department with an image library to select engaging images to be displayed on the backround of their pages. By doing this, we can ensure high quality photos are used while still giving the content creators creative freedom.
For images embedded in the content, our codebase automatically formats the images to fit in the content beautifully. No more HTML hacking needed on their end — the website does all the heavy lifting and styling for them.
Before, each department in the City Government had their own design, site-structure, navigation, etc. Now all content is being processed by the same codebase, which guarantees a consistent visual experience throughout the site.
Before it was cluttered and confusing for users. We focused on eliminating the clutter to place emphasis on the content and a specific featured items area.
We decreased the number of menus to avoid distraction and confusion. This allows users to navigate quickly around the site. Whereas previously, users had to understand how the city departments were structured to know where to find information on the site, now the topics are centered around their thought process.
Create Once, Publish Everywhere
When an employee creates and publishes one piece of information, it gets placed under multiple categories so users can intuitively find information based on their own mental model.
With over 50% of users being search-dominant, we wanted to provide a great experience to help them find things quickly, with multiple ways to perform queries. We implemented a search tool that provides richer results with supporting images and department location. With the Apache Solr search tool, users get a helping hand when finding information:
Autocomplete within search box
Search suggestions and spelling corrections
Narrow results by category from search page
Limit search within designated category
Our implementation focused on maintaining content quality while decreasing overhead needed to produce it. The new workflow lets employees complete the entire content process online, futhering enabling them to maximize the new web system.
We also provided hands-on training and tutorial videos to get employees on board faster and producing great content.
With 52% of today's users using mobile to perform localized searches, we knew it was important to provide a great experience that gets users relevant information quickly. We carried over the desktop theme and information structure to create a cohesive environment to minimize confusion when switching between devices. We emphasized the use of action-oriented links to reflect the mobile use case scenario for on-the-go information. The additional site does not require any extra administrative work.
Speed and Performance
To enable a faster search and navigation experience on the website, we placed our focus on better uptime and scalability. The backend server system is designed to handle large spikes or steady traffic increases with no decrease in speed or performance using Varnish caching. With this boost, we have lowered response times to less than half a second.