The NSW government is consolidating its more than 750 websites currently running on 35 different content management systems to deliver a “unified, customer-centric” experience for citizens when they interact with the state government online.
A redesigned nsw.gov.au beta site has launched offering a preview of how the consolidated platform will work, using a search tool to direct users to the information they need rather than navigating to individual agency-run sites.
“It’s not perfect, it still needs some design and content refinements, however our incredible team have delivered a huge amount of work in a short timeframe,” director, NSW Government digital channels, Mark Higgs, wrote in a blog post on Friday.
Higgs says the consolidation, which has been in the works since mid-2019, will eventually deliver an “innovative digital experience of NSW government websites”.
It is also expected to save the NSW government money by deduplicating functionality, content, hosting and website maintenance.
$100 million dollars in funding was allocated in the previous state budget for “whole-of-government digital transformation that will enhance customer experiences” including the adoption of common platforms to “remove duplication and increase efficiency”, amid massive public public service cuts.
The new site is being developed with the NSW government’s Design System, a series of standards and guides which aims to deliver online government services in a consistent, user focused way that is still “distinctly NSW”.
According to Higgs, the project is being delivered by teams using an agile methodology: frequent, iterative releases designed to bring value to users.
Government content will be continuously added to the new site, which already supports several “journeys”, in line with the government’s more holistic approach to services.
For example, the site is designed with journeys like births or deaths, getting kids active, and drought and bushfire support, rather than single transactions or claims.
Higgs says while government websites have improved over the years, they can still ultimately produce a frustrating experience for citizens, especially when they have to move across different government agencies.
“Many of these [existing] websites work well. Agencies have started to adopt a user centred approach to information and service design. However, in the absence of a holistic view of the government’s web architecture, the customer is often only served from an agency perspective creating a disjointed and inconsistent experience.”