By DEQ Web Team (part of the Communication Team)
In 2016, the DEQ Web Team embarked on a website redesign that is an integral part of the department-wide rebranding effort. This rebranding initiative made DEQ more accessible and relevant to our constituents, bringing to the forefront our mission, vision, and values. On March 23, 2018, the team successfully completed the first phase in a series of improvements to the DEQ website.
Phase 1 focused on improving basic user experience across a variety of platforms. The site responds to screen size so it can display more appropriately across different devices, like desktops, tablets, or phones. A “Settings” panel offers a high-contrast view of the site. Search results are more relevant. Menus are improved and are more customized to specific content sections. “Behind the scenes,” code has been cleaned and condensed, making the site leaner. These improvements mean content is easier to find while delivery is faster and more efficient.
Hybrid Content (Legacy content waiting for conversion)
Phase 1 unveiled a hybrid site that mingles a new refresh look and feel with legacy content. You will notice that much of the site content sports a new design with more extensive and specific menu options. Other content, while greatly improved, still has our legacy design. Throughout the remainder of 2018, the Web Team will continue updating legacy content and converting it to the refresh design.
Navigating the Site
The site search bar is the most efficient way to find content on our site, but some prefer using the menus. The new site caters to both.
Users will find the familiar “hamburger” menu in the top left corner of the site. It contains broad, category specific topics. As users navigate into the site, they will find more specific menus to the left of the content. These menus are organized by section topic. The more specific a menu is to the current content, the higher it will reside in the left column. For example (in the left column) you might have a menu about CERCLA programs (very specific) followed underneath by a division menu (less specific), then a general sitewide menu (not specific), and finally a tag cloud at the bottom.
Navigate by Tags or Categories
Our updated content is tagged with search terms and categories. Researchers should find it easy to locate relevant content, regardless of where it resides on the site, by clicking links within the Tag Cloud area. The Tag Cloud is found beneath the left-side menus.
Categories are similar to search term tags, but more generalized. For example, one might be a broad topic like a specific division. Category links are found at the bottom of the content area.
The new design makes it obvious which DEQ division owns a particular post. Users will find division branding and division-specific navigation tied to individual posts. The left navigation will highlight which post the user is viewing. These “road signs” will help users understand where they are in relation to the rest of the site and will guide them through their research.
Although this redesign is officially part of the 2016 rebranding campaign, precursors to Phase 1 began in 2015. At the time, DEQ was receiving complaints from constituents that its online resources were difficult to find and navigate. DEQ responded by working with each of its divisions on a massive sitewide audit. The goal of the audit was to improve efficiency by reducing redundancy and by updating content.
In 2016, DEQ went through the rebranding campaign to help constituents understand better the responsibilities of, and services offered by, its divisions. As part of this campaign, DEQ resolved to better its online presence by improving:
- The efficiency and speed that online content is published or updated
- Site navigation
- Division identity and ease of contact
- Search results relevance
- Mobile device support and bandwidth optimization
- Accessibility support
- Content accuracy
The DEQ Communication Office Web Team has been working hard to meet these goals. Sitewide, the online content has been cleaned and condensed. Content is leaner, while delivery is faster and more efficient.
In addition to the sitewide audit and content improvement, the Web Team has been converting posts to the new design. More than 25 percent of the content has been converted. Already, this move has resulted in a more efficient publishing process. The Web Team is more responsive and agile as a result.
After March, DEQ will continue making improvements to the site with phased releases. While some of the content will retain its “legacy” look and feel throughout 2018, site visitors will notice improved:
- Search Results
- Mobile support
There is still much to improve, but the project has created quality and positive momentum. It is off to a great start.
Our web team consists of an elite group of communication specialists. They are: Terry Davis, Jodie Swanson, and D’yani Wood. If you have an online problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire … The DEQ Web Team.
Terry has been assisting various State of Utah organizations with their online presence since last century. He joined the DEQ team late in 2015. He doesn’t, however, spend all of his time pushing a mouse around. He enjoys the variety of opportunities found in Utah for hunting, hiking, camping, and shooting. He has been a volunteer with the Boy Scouts of America for nearly 7 years, having survived 60 nights of campouts (sometimes in deep snow and subzero weather). Although old and decrepit, he enjoys practicing MMA and finds it refreshingly therapeutic to hit friends and family in the face with big padded gloves.
Jodie has worked with the Office of Planning and Public Affairs for the past 20 years, most recently as a web specialist. When she is not working, she loves to get outside and enjoy the sunshine with her family and two dogs.
D’yani, a native Idahoan, has been working at DEQ for a few years now, formerly in the Division of Drinking Water. She enjoys spreading the good word about her favorite online organization tools, tips, and tricks to anyone who asks. At home, she has three cats and one husband. She and her husband enjoy playing video games together and explaining to people that video games are an art form.