What we did
Greater Wellington hired SilverStripe to port the website from the old platform to the SilverStripe CMS, as the first stage of a multi-year plan to enhance the website. SilverStripe performed a major visual design and information architecture overhaul of the website, as well as redeveloping the public transport website, Metlink.
Visitors to the Greater Wellington website need clear access to information, so we designed the site with that in mind. The site has a functional design with easy access to all kinds of information. CMS authors can easily add in photos and other images that showcase the region’s highlights.
We integrated the website with a number of databases, including their rates database, where we created a rates calculator so that the public can easily calculate their own indicative rates. Greater Wellington has tens of thousands of downloadable documents on its documents database, so we integrated SilverStripe to ensure the public could search for and download documents such as committee meeting minutes from an easy to use document library section on the website.
We also set up the CMS so that Greater Wellington staff can easily manage their events section from the CMS.
We implemented a feature to help the council deal with civil defence emergencies, like major floods or tsunamis. The site has a prominent place where a large warning appears during emergencies (so there’s no way a visitor can miss it). Council staff can easily access and update this function from the CMS. If an emergency message is typed, it shows up quickly and prominently on the website.
SilverStripe CMS takes the bottlenecks out of updating content on our website. Just hours after launching our new website, we used it to broadcast warnings about the threat of the Samoan tsunami to our region. We’d never done this before this in the past as it took up to a day for our website to update. Now, we allow dozens of staff to contribute content to the website because it’s so easy to use.
– Brett Sangster, Communications Manager, Greater Wellington Regional Council
As a very large number of Greater Wellington staff use the CMS, we trained a small group of Greater Wellington staff in their offices on how to use SilverStripe CMS. This group then passed their knowledge on to a wider group of staff who edit content on a less regular basis.
SilverStripe ported the existing content into the new SilverStripe CMS install, then Greater Wellington staff went through and edited the existing content in SilverStripe and added new content.
The website has to be able to withstand a high amount of traffic, with the site having over 17,000 unique visitors a month. The website has to do more than provide pages of written content. The ‘Our Environment’ section regularly pulls in data from sensors recording a range of things such as air quality and river levels and displays it as graphs on a web page. The Beacon Hill webcam pages are some of the busiest pages on the website, which are updated regularly throughout the day.
As Greater Wellington hosts its website, we helped its IT staff deploy the PHP-based solution in their production environment comprising Windows Server 2008, IIS 7, and SQL Server 2008. This was the first time we had deployed SilverStripe CMS in a SQL Server setup.