Leading web design

The City of Unley has launched a new look website designed to be accessible, user friendly, and responsive on mobile devices.

The new site replaces a twelve year old version that users considered outdated and difficult to navigate, especially on tablets and smart phones.

There has been a strong shift over recent years in the design and layout of council websites to a more user-centric model. Councils are taking note of a variety of factors that influence how residents use their websites.

Accessibility for visually impaired people, responsiveness to mobile devices and other considerations are important factors for councils who want to serve their website customers well.

The City of Unley’s communications team evaluated site analytics and determined the site was primarily used to complete simple tasks, such as to check when bins were due to be collected, or pay a bill. Taking this on board, the new site was designed around resident services, rather than the council’s structure, making it easy for people to do their business fast.

City of Unley Manager of Marketing, Communications and Customer Service, Annabel Shinkfield said putting the customer first at every stage of development was a key priority.

“We wanted customers to be able to find what they were looking for quickly and with ease. Given that approximately one third of our customers access our site from a device other than desktop, mobile optimisation needed to remain a key priority.”

The new council homepage features large clear icons that link to the top services that residents use, including payments, bins, library and swimming facilities, dog registration and forms and applications.

Search capabilities have also been improved to make content easier to find.

Accessibility was a key consideration during the design phase. Large icons, contrasting colours and large font ensured the website would meet government standards and, more importantly, resident needs. Processes are also being put into place to ensure future content is developed with accessibility in mind.

Ms Shinkfield said consultation during the planning phase led to a brief for a site that would be simpler, clearer and faster to use.

“The new website supports the use of digital media including video content, integration with social media and improved support for online forms and payments.

“I believe our site is unrivalled in design and functionality, and we’re excited that others are looking to it as the benchmark of local government websites.

“Since the launch of the site, we have received some great feedback from fellow councils and are happy to share with them what we have learnt throughout this process.”

In the past 12 months Council’s website had over 12,700 visitors, with 33 percent of those users accessing the site via a mobile device.
The new website is now live and can be found at unley.sa.gov.au