An organization’s website plays many roles for internal and external stakeholders. When the New South Wales Public Service Commission’s (PSC) website was not meeting public sector HR professionals’ needs, Jen Black and her strategic communications team embarked on a project to transform the website for a more streamlined and accessible user experience. Black, who led the project that received 2022 Gold Quill Awards and was named “Best of the Best” in the Communication for the Web category, discusses the process and successes of this award-winning website.
What challenge were you facing, and how did your award-winning project solve it?
The PSC website has a vital role in providing New South Wales public sector HR professionals with the tools they need to do their jobs. But data showed the website was not meeting their needs and was affecting our organizational impact and reputation. This was proven during user research where it took someone six minutes to find a resource that was essential to their job!
Over the years, teams had worked separately on their sections of the website without prioritizing a cohesive brand or customer experience. It had become a “beast” — visually inconsistent, difficult to navigate and made up of multiple microsites.
It was clear that a website transformation was required and that improving internal collaboration would be a key enabler.
My team and I dedicated ourselves to learning as much as possible about content design best practice and worked with leaders to identify core brand attributes, gaining agreement on how to visually express our brand. This helped us work with our people to develop a new content creation process, intentionally cultivating a content design movement across the organization. Activities encouraged collaboration and knowledge sharing among content creators and a sense of excitement about what was to come with the creation of the new website.
What impact did your project have on communication outcomes?
Our “pre-work” set us up to efficiently build our website and migrate content just six weeks. Our new content design process helped streamline the website from 600 to 400 pages, as well as significantly enhancing readability and meeting accessibility standards.
The collaboration resulting from our new content design process contributed to a significant 15% increase in teamwork and collaboration across the organization, shown through our annual staff survey. One content creator observed: “The experience has never been as good as this.”
Importantly, customers are having a better website experience, with analytics showing that bounce rates are significantly reduced, and session times have doubled. One customer remarked: “The information is now set out in a clearer way. With the old website … it was overwhelming.”
What’s one key takeaway you gained from this experience that would benefit other communication professionals?
The importance of truly exploring the root cause issues of a problem is crucial in achieving a sustainable and genuine change. Eighteen months on from the website transformation, our content design process is still working well. Content creation at the PSC is a collaboration, and this results in better quality, ensuring our website is beauty, not a beast.
Jen Black is the associate director of strategic communication at the New South Wales Public Service Commission (PSC). She led their website transformation, which won 2022 Gold Quill Awards of Excellence in the Communication for the Web and Internal Communication categories. The project was also named Best of the Best in the Communication for the Web category.