The last time the Government of Yukon significantly updated its website was 2007, or about a decade ago. For the past few years, Yukoners have been looking for a government website that was more accessible, mobile-friendly, stable, consistent and has content based on user needs.
In 2015, the government got to work researching and identifying a platform for the website that would also work for future projects including transactional services.
We hired a vendor called Yellow Pencil to help us research, plan, design, build and put into place a government website prototype based on Drupal. The Department of Tourism and Culture stepped forward for this pilot. The goal was to train staff to write for the web, have them re-write and re-organize their existing website content and build a public beta based on Drupal.
This Drupal prototyping exercise gave us real world experience in what to do, what not to do and what to consider if and when the government would re-develop its main website at gov.yk.ca.
We also used that initial Drupal foundation to build 11 new digital services for five departments. To date, these services have processed close to 50,000 individual transactions. Furthermore, of those services 80% were made by local Drupal developers, which also aided in us testing out new management processes for handling different projects, people and code, all on the same technology platforms.
The government’s web advisory committee was working on auditing department website content in advance of this project. The goal was to remove any content that was redundant or outdated to reduce the overall number of pages on the site and make it easier for users to find what they arelooking for.
Once we were approved to move forward with the new website, we formed a content migration working group of around 30 transition managers from across the government. This team led the charge to conduct user research, re-write content and help develop and test guidance and standards for public-facing web content.
Key highlights and accomplishments related to Yukon.ca since August 2017
- Ran a multi-day discovery workshop with Yellow Pencil and various senior stakeholders to plan the Yukon.ca design and development project.
- Facilitated a "boutique websites and web applications" inventory and analysis with almost 30 people from across government. The input from this workshop has helped us determine how we will transition the remaining content from our existing web publishing system (OpenText) and the more than 200 boutique websites and web applications the government owns over to Yukon.ca and its partner platforms.
- Facilitated a "spatial user experiences" inventory and analysis with 20 people across the organization. The input from this workshop helped us understand the breadth of complexity, needs and audiences for our government digital experiences.
Policy and process
- Finished the "digital services delivery" policy (GAM 1.20).
- Developed a new standard set of content archiving tools and process for all digital content.
- Developed new policies and process documentation for managing content in Drupal, as well as new content research, writing, translation and design guidelines and standards.
- Coordinated with local vendor Make IT to produce the Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) for Yukon.ca and Piwik, our new web analytics software.
- Also worked with Make IT to produce the Security Threat Risk Assessment (STRA) for Yukon.ca and Piwik.
- Organized the migration of eServices' virtual machine infrastructure for performance and security gains.
- Worked with Yellow Pencil to include Active Directory user authentication in Yukon.ca.
- Set up and customized a new Apache Solr search engine to replace the existing Google Search Appliance.
- Worked to customize Piwik web analytics and its reports.
- Worked with Yellow Pencil to design a series of wireframes based on the newly developed content types and content inventory.
- Worked with Yellow Pencil to design what will be public-facing visual design of Yukon.ca.
- Participated in discussions and decisions regarding the new Government of Yukon visual identity and how it will find its way into Yukon.ca.
- Worked with a group of citizens who had participated in other user research related to Yukon.ca (card sorting and tree test) to test the new Yukon.ca website. This resulted in 12 people saying Yes to testing, and 22 also wanting to join a user research pool for future research activities. These people range greatly in age and abilities.
- Organized Yukon.ca user research sessions with participants from Teegatha 'Oh Zheh, Association of Community Living and others later this month.