Developing a fast and intuitive publication library for the energy regulator for Great Britain.
Ofgem play a critical role in collaborating with government, industry, and consumers to ensure competitive energy pricing and promote innovation. Ofgem's website had become an increasingly important channel for disseminating information to a wide range of audiences, from consumers to professionals working in the gas and electricity industries. As their online presence grew, they needed to upgrade their outdated content management system.
Our first task was to complete an audit of the existing website. That audit revealed 60,000 assets, extensive taxonomies and content types, and numerous user roles and permissions, as well as significant bespoke development by Ofgem’s previous agency. Our challenge was to understand which functionality was still required, what it did, and how it could be improved and simplified.
In accordance with the Government Digital Service Standard, we developed an alpha product – a preliminary prototype – that was made available to real users as quickly as possible. This allowed us to obtain insights from user testing to inform subsequent phases. Firstly, we tackled one of the website’s most complex features: the publications library. We migrated 16,000 publications, including consultations and investigations, while maintaining the existing metadata and relationships between parent and child documents. We then developed a new set of filter-based search interfaces to interrogate the library in a simple but powerful way.
Behind the scenes, we began developing a follow-up public beta site, incorporating additional functionality and a completely new look and feel. Our brief was to create a design system that was clean, functional, and honoured the brand, while maintaining an appropriate emphasis on content. We achieved this by creating flexible grid-based layouts, a clear separation of user interface and information, and thoughtful use of accent colours.
The public beta site was continually updated with new features, such as Welsh language support, content notifications and the data portal that integrates with Highcharts to provide a library of interactive charts and graphs. This process meant the switch-over to the website was relatively straightforward.
The new website is WCAG 2.1 AA compliant, fully responsive, and future-proofed for many years to come. The analytics data has revealed some impressive and meaningful results too:
- The number of user sessions has increased by 72% demonstrating that the website is generating significantly more traffic.
- The number of new users has increased by 84% demonstrating that the website is reaching new audiences.
- The bounce rate has decreased by 33% demonstrating that users are finding the content they are looking for.