Project Background

New Zealand’s Consumer Protection agency, which is part of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, plays a key role in helping everyday New Zealand people and businesses transact with confidence. As part of a recent review of advice, information and education functions, the Ministry has found the need to take an all-of-government approach to broaden the scope of the website to cover all consumer-related matters. This approach includes two phases: the first, reskinning the to reflect Consumer Protection branding with the domain; the second, redeveloping the website to function as the source of expert information on consumer law and a gateway to consumer-related information.

Following a research project to understand consumers better, the agency wanted to redevelop the website to make it visually appealing, quicker and easier for consumers to find relevant and up-to-date information. The redevelopment was part of their bigger objective to help consumers to be knowledgeable, protected and empowered.

The Challenges

The previous website was cluttered with too many details displaying at the same time and a poor hierarchy of information, making it difficult for consumers to find relevant advice. Its design needed a refresh to reflect a modern look and the agency’s new strategy and direction.

It was also time consuming and difficult for consumers to use online tools and forms. One of the main tasks that consumers wanted to do on the site was to report or resolve a problem, and how to do this was not clear on the previous site. 

Many consumers also visited the site via their mobile devices but the mobile site was poorly displayed. The agency also found out through their research that the homepage was often not the main entry to their site, with traffic spreading widely across the site and 80% of traffic coming from organic searches.

An overhaul of IA and UX

Silverstripe conducted a review of the website’s information architecture (IA) and user experience design (UX). Having studied Consumer Protection’s research results on their consumer profiles, Silverstripe ran several workshops and developed different wireframes and graphics for the agency to consider. Regular communications and a collaborative working approach were embraced from both sides with the agency coming to Silverstripe office regularly for meetings and demos. As a result, it was mutually agreed that the mega-menu be designed to make it clearer for users to find information that they needed. 

Silverstripe also performed multiple testings for browsers and devices to make sure that the site was responsive to whatever consumers were using. Lots of peer reviewing was done in the process to minimise potential bugs and errors.

Speedy delivery

One of the requests that came out through everyday discussion between Silverstripe and Consumer Protection was that the agency wanted to load new content early in the project whilst the new site was being developed. So Silverstripe set up the IA in the first week of the project, which enabled the agency to do this easily. 

Using Agile project management methodology, Silverstripe delivered a website in just under three months including four weeks of development that transforms the user experience. Since site visitors access the site from various pages, not just the homepage, the new mega menu now navigates consumers easily through the site at any entry point. The site header and footer containing the main menu are made visible at all access points. The search function is at the centre of the site, giving users what they want: information about how to become a confident consumer. All the main tasks that users want to perform on the site are clearly set out, such as “report or resolve a problem” and “returns, refunds, and repairs”. 

The website is also very responsive to different devices, making it easy for users to access information from their mobile devices. 

The results

With high expertise in web development and Agile project management, Silverstripe succeeded in helping Consumer Protection redevelop their website and deliver what their customers wanted whilst meeting the agency’s strategic objective of helping everyday New Zealand people and businesses transact with confidence.

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