The Ministry of Science and Innovation

www.msi.govt.nz

Watch the video that showcases the MSI website.

Site purpose

The Ministry of Science and Innovation was formed in 2011 with the combining of The Foundation for Research, Science and Technology, which existed to drive innovation, and the Ministry for Research, Science and Technology, which supported these innovations financially.

By merging these two departments, the government aimed to place even more emphasis on New Zealand’s innovation. The goal was to increase New Zealand's economic, environmental and social performance. MSI achieves this goal through strategic leadership and partnering with the science and innovation sector. They have a strong network across government, research organisations, business and industry.

MSI uses technology in an innovative way. Their new website had to demonstrate this approach and work well on a desktop computer, as well as an iPad. All the content had to be easy to share via Twitter and Facebook.

The new website had to communicate how MSI is connecting all players in the science and innovation ecosystem. And for those who need funding from MSI, it had to explain how they can apply and how the process works.

MSI takes part in the NZ government Open Data Initiative and it was important to show how their funding has been allocated over time. In order to illustrate the outcome of the funding, they wanted to feature success stories of businesses they had supported in the past.

What we did

SilverStripe partnered with MSI design agency Ocean Design to create the initial design concept, after which SilverStripe created the actual website. Based on basic design guidelines;

  • SilverStripe created a clean and fresh design with a focus on communication and usability. Depending on the audience, the content is divided into different sections with full social media integration throughout the page. Any content going into the CMS gets tagged and automatically added to each section.
  • We introduced a highly sophisticated Fund Finder. Fund Finder is a customised search function in which the user can sort and search by ‘Who got funded’, ‘Audience’ and ‘Purpose’.
  • The site holds a customised document converter through which you can convert content from a MS Word document into HTML and paste it into the site via the back end system.
  • MSI wanted to include infographics, which allow the user to visually explore data in HTML5. These infographics had to work on the iPad. The data for them comes from the CMS and is editable in the back end. The graphics offer an engaging way to learn about things.
  • Promotional tiles were designed to structure the content. The tiles can be updated on the fly with photos and text, and can point the user to any page on the site.
  • The site was built in a Windows environment.

Challenges

The infographics needed to be done in HTML5 to work on an iPad. Unfortunately most users who visit the site have IE7 which has trouble supporting HTML5.

The site had to be finished within three months time, so there were time constraints with no buffer had anything gone wrong.

SilverStripe worked around the IE7 issue and did extensive testing to make it work without any issues for the user. Realistic timing and project management were the keys to success here.

Measures of success

The site was delivered on time given the three month time frame. It contains all relevant content of two websites with 273 pages and sub pages, and thousands of pages with funding records. All set up in a user friendly way that makes it easy to find whatever the user is looking for.