In July 2014, the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) launched the new website – www.govt.nz – which replaces the newzealand.govt.nz website after a year of beta testing.
The project team used the results of testing, feedback and international research to build a consistent, reliable information resource about government services.
The decommissioned newzealand.govt.nz website was established in 2001 to offer world leading online delivery of government information and services. Although the site served its purpose well, it hasn’t been updated since 2008 and research indicated it was no longer meeting the expectations of today’s users. This has led to users turning to more expensive and time-consuming channels such as calling or emailing to get information, rather than using the online channel.
The Govt.nz project resolved the issues that the old site had and is now set to help realise government’s vision of radically transforming New Zealand’s public services using ICT as a key enabling tool.
The clear trend overseas is that governments are increasingly adopting joined-up information delivery models. It’s more efficient to pool resources than to continue to deliver in silos. This was the bases for the redesign.
The first step was reverting to the URL www.govt.nz since newzealand.govt.nz was often confused with tourism-focused newzealand.com.
The Govt.nz website is built around topics based on the needs of the users rather than the structure of government. These topics provide context around complex, multi-agency user journeys, so that the site is more than a links farm.
This user-centred content is based on information already provided by agencies, re-written in plain English, combined with details from other agencies, and providing links out to the details on agency websites. Agencies who provided content fact-checked all material before it was published on www.govt.nz.
The entire development process has been shared via the Web Toolkit blog which features:
- research and the results of the usability studies
- regular reporting on user issues
- open-sourcing the code so anyone can use it
- details about an API to share government information.
The Government ICT Strategy provides new opportunities to support better public services and agency transformation agendas by putting citizens and businesses at the centre of the design and delivery of digital services. There are five focus areas that will lead to clear outcomes:
- Digital services – people will be able to consume public services in sophisticated ways, similar to the way they bank and shop online.
- Information – being able to access and understand customer needs and behaviours across agencies.
- Technology – ICT units can partner with business units to deliver on innovation and value.
- Investment – get better results from existing spending and investing wisely in new services that will make a difference
- Leadership – using innovation, developing complementary skills, mindsets and structures to deliver in a technology-led environment.
The Better Public Services (BPS) Programme gives 10 challenging result areas for the public sector to achieve over the next five years to reach the vision of where public services operate as a system focused on the results that will have the biggest and most positive impact on New Zealanders’ lives.
The Govt.nz project sits within the Result 10 area ‘Improving interaction with government’, which is “New Zealanders can complete their transactions with government easily in a digital environment”. The target for this work is an average of 70 per cent of New Zealanders’ most common transactions with government will be completed in a digital environment by 2017.
Govt.nz aligns with these strategies by:
- transforming the government’s flagship web presence to a user-centred view
- building on shared infrastructure provided by the Common Web Platform
- providing a collaborative solution to the effective management of the government’s web presence
- reducing duplication of content
- facilitating cross-agency collaboration
- adopting an agile user-centric development approach with iterative user-testing to ensure the solution best meets the needs of users.