Houston Galveston Area Council
The Houston Galveston Area Council provides information and consolidated services for 13 counties in Texas. These cost saving efforts ensure that the entire region achieves economies of scale for shared priorities such as hurricane recovery efforts, clean air initiatives, veteran services and much more. Their website serves as a portal to many of these initiatives, and is used by government staff, elected officials, the business community and the general public.
When Ignition72 first met H-GAC, their website was suffering from several deficiencies:
- No mobile engagement
- Continued use of Flash for key content areas
- A navigation system that had no consistency
- Each department organized content to meet their specific needs
- Accessing key parts of the site could be 3, 5 or 8 clicks from the home page
- A brand identity which was inconsistently applied (again, as a result of different departments)
- A home page that was cluttered and crowded with masses of information as all departments vied for the home page real estate
- Overall a dated feel as the site had not been refreshed in over 5 years
The Ignition72 team employed their Strategy First™ approach by meeting with the H-GAC team to fully understand their priorities and goals, as well as likes and dislikes. This included meeting with each department to hear their perspectives and to share the unified vision that we would adopt moving forward.
Specific initiatives included:
- Defining a core functionality scope of work, capturing all current and desired functionality. In this case, most functionality was carried over from the previous site since we re-used their CMS.
- Reorganizing the information architecture to reduce the number of clicks to reach desired content and standardize the navigation of the site.
- Designing new wireframes to create a transparent navigation structure that reveals the wealth of content on the site, and gets visitors to their destination immediately.
- Establishing a new site look and feel that is optimized for desktop, tablet and mobile, and achieves the core goal of making content easy to find and consume.
Key to the success of this project was working within the IT constraints of the organization. The new site would need to redefine engagement and content consumption, without changing the core structure of the site or its functionality.
The Ignition72 team prepared style tiles to define the site look and feel, as well as multiple site concepts to demonstrate how the style could be applied. After working with the leadership of H-GAC we narrowed down the options.
Even though the CMS of the site has not changed, the new site:
- Is now fully responsive, accomodating users of all types of devices and screen sizes.
- Has an audience focused home page: Serving many different types of visitors, the site now segments content based on the end user, not the existing department structure. This makes the content easier to find and navigation more intuitive.
- Established an open architecture organization where the home page acts as a large navigation element helping visitors get to any content in under four clicks.
- Rolled out a new, more modern and progressive site design, keeping the focus on the content, with ample opportunities for each department to customize their own landing pages for their specific audiences.
The site went live on April 21, 2014. New visitors to the site are introduced through an interactive guide that only appears the first time they view the site. The H-GAC team now have a new responsive design website without changing any of their internal systems, process, or past learning.
By employing Strategy First™, our team was able to fully understand the client’s need and their users’ concerns. This approach resulted in a design solution that is as unique as their organization, all while limiting the negative impact that a complete overhaul can have in a large organization.