At a glance

2015 - 2016
Federal government
Discovery & strategy, Design & user research, Build & migration

The purpose

To deliver a better user experience for Australia's regulatory authority for civil aviation website.

The players

The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) is the Australian Government’s regulatory authority for civil aviation. As a regulatory body, the website’s content needs to be accurate and ‘always available’.

The problem

Following the successful implementation of phase 1 (as-is migration to govCMS), CASA turned its focus to enhancements, working with the Acquia and Salsa teams once again. While phase 1 brought stability to the CASA website, the site still needed a lot of work. A week-long discovery exercise led by Acquia identified areas of the existing site that would benefit from changes or enhancements. In the end, three areas were singled out as the most critical for site visitors:

  1. A user interface (UI) redesign — the site still had the same tired user interface and it didn’t support mobile and tablet formats.

  2. Content and information architecture (IA) restructure — the content was outdated (some of it dated back to the 1930s!), often poorly structured and contained duplication. In addition, the IA was cumbersome, with some areas of the site using 8+ levels of navigation. There were also 23,000 PDFs without tags and metadata.

  3. A new search function — search on the legacy CASA site was limited and problematic. CASA identified enhanced search functions, such as providing relevant search filtering (facet-based search) and offering different search types aligned to prime site visitor use cases, as highly valuable to site visitors.

The solution

The Acquia/Salsa Digital solution focused on delivering on these three critical areas.

User interface redesign

The CASA site was given a major facelift, ensuring the new interface design was compatible with mobile and tablet formats. CASA drafted a design style guide of the primary pages in each format (tablet, mobile and desktop) — this level of detail and demarcation of the envisaged user interface was invaluable when forming the acceptance criteria for the functions to enhance the UI/design.

CASA - Old design

CASA - old design

CASA - New design

CASA - new design

Content and IA restructure

Salsa Digital worked closely with CASA and Acquia to deliver a new IA. After a content clean-up, the new content structure and updated content was migrated into the redesigned interface. This migration was quite complex, partly because of the huge volume of data. Salsa designed a robust migration process; one which the project team could be confident with during phases such as build, quality assurance and user acceptance.

The new site structure provides a cleaner and more logical organisation of information so site visitors can find what they’re looking for quickly.

Search function

Salsa Digital built a new, facet-based search function. In addition to a keyword search, the homepage also includes the two most common functional searches — an aircraft register search and an air operator’s certificate (AOC) search.

The benefits

The initial discovery phase ensured phase 2 of the CASA website redevelopment would deliver site enhancements that would most benefit CASA’s end users. The new user interface makes the site more visually appealing, but importantly also makes the site easier to navigate. Likewise, the new IA also supports users as they look for specific information about CASA and its services.

Finally, the new overall site search provides visitors with a cleaner and faster search experience and the addition of the aircraft register and AOC searches ensures important and frequent searches can be done quickly and easily.

Working with CASA and Acquia, we were able to deliver changes that would add the greatest value and bring the biggest benefits to CASA and its site visitors. These enhancements have translated into measurable benefits, including:

  • 34% increase in traffic;
  • 67% increase in mobile page views;
  • 132% increase in search; and
  • 372% increase in mobile search.

The final stat is particularly valuable to CASA given mobile responsiveness and upgrading the search were key requirements.

“We’ve made huge gains in the specific areas we were targeting,” said Michael Hodgkin, Digital Transformation Architect, CASA.

Why Salsa Digital?

CASA was very happy with the results of phase 1 of the CASA website upgrade (migration to GovCMS) and wanted to keep working with Salsa Digital and Acquia on the next stage of the website. Our existing knowledge of CASA and the fact that we knew the website inside-out, ensured a smoother and faster delivery of phase 2.

In addition, we were able to bring our extensive Drupal and GovCMS experience to the project, alongside our commitment to user-focused digital transformation. Since building the CASA website, Salsa Digital has been named Acquia’s Partner of the Year Asia Pacific and Japan (2016). On this project, our experience using agile methodologies was also key — agile helps to deliver speed and risk mitigation to all projects.

With phase 2 complete, CASA is now planning for phase 3 and 4!

“Salsa did a fantastic job and the project came in on budget and on schedule. Actually it was one week early.” Gabrielle Williams, Project Manager, CASA (during her presentation at the Victorian govCMS lunch event on 20 April 2016).