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Delivering new eSafety site with GovCMS SaaS

After undergoing an extensive discovery phase that included user research, focus groups, UX design prototyping and platform assessments, eSafety engaged Salsa Digital to work alongside their internal Digital team to co-develop their complex and visually engaging website on GovCMS SaaS. The new, user-centred website delivers the benefits of GovCMS SaaS and removes the technical burden from eSafety so they can focus on creating great online safety content for all Australians.

The players

The eSafety Commissioner (eSafety) is the official body charged with regulating online safety within Australia. The goal is to help all Australians have safer and more positive experiences online.

The problem

The old eSafety website was on a proprietary content management system (CMS). eSafety had been looking to move platforms and was specifically interested in GovCMS SaaS because it would remove the technical burden and allow them to focus their internal teams on developing more digital assets and new content. However, when they initially approached the market they received frequent feedback that to meet their list of requirements, which included having many different and distinct content designs and templates, they’d need to use GovCMS PaaS or ‘straight’ Drupal. Find out more about GovCMS SaaS and PaaS.

The proposed site featured separate sections for eSafety’s six distinct target audiences:

  • Educators

  • Kids

  • Young people

  • Parents

  • Women

  • Seniors

Acknowledging the differing needs and online behaviours of these various target audiences (uncovered during the discovery phase of their project), eSafety tailored their content, functionality and landing pages for each section. This resulted in a multitude of content types and design features and a degree of complexity in the implementation.

eSafety initially secured Salsa’s services for a site assessment/discovery to assess their requirements against GovCMS SaaS, GovCMS PaaS and standard Drupal. They’d heard about our expertise in the marketplace and hoped we’d be able to find a way to deliver on GovCMS SaaS where others hadn’t.

The solution

During the site assessment/discovery we mapped all of eSafety's requirements against the three CMS/platform options using our standard, mature GovCMS viability process. We found that although eSafety’s list of requirements was more comprehensive than most SaaS builds, nearly everything on the list was possible with enough development time and a high level of GovCMS expertise. There were a few features that were not achievable within GovCMS SaaS but eSafety decided they could live with the limitations because the benefits of GovCMS SaaS were much larger than missing out on a couple of relatively small items from their wish list.

eSafety then engaged us to build the site’s backend, initially contracting us for GovCMS expertise, backend Drupal development, and governance. We brought an engagement manager, a technical lead and two Drupal developers onto the project. eSafety’s core team consisted of the primary stakeholder, a business analyst, a tester, a UX/UI designer (also the product owner) and two frontend developers.

Given we had already become very familiar with the website requirements during the site assessment, we could essentially jump straight into story grooming. Our expertise in both Drupal and GovCMS in particular allowed us to alert eSafety to any implementation challenges early on — at the stage of wireframe and design review — as opposed to later on when the cost of change is far greater.

While the backend work was progressing well, we soon realised that building an extensive catalogue of reusable templates and content types would require more frontend development time than was originally forecast. To assist the project’s timelines one of our developers shifted from working on the backend to providing overfill to eSafety’s internal team on frontend development stories.

Part of our solution was also search engine optimisation (SEO), where we focused on tag management optimisation. Initially we set up a test tag manager and analytics environments then tested the data capture and configuration. We then worked closely with eSafety on optimising tags and triggers and on troubleshooting any tracking delivery from the website to Google Tag Manager to Google Analytics. Once eSafety was happy with the setup and tag results, Salsa also helped with the migration to a live tag manager and analytics setup in preparation for launch. On go-live we verified that the setup did in fact deliver the expected results and provided final documentation of all deliverables.

Towards the end of the project, Salsa also provided content loading services over a period of two months to help eSafety ensure their 700+ pages of content could make it into the CMS within the project timelines.

The site launched in October 2019 as the most comprehensive site of its kind dealing with online safety worldwide.

The benefits

There are many benefits of the new eSafety website. The main benefits include:

  • A user-centered site tailored to the unique needs of eSafety’s target audiences (thanks to eSafety’s extensive user research and highly experienced UX/UI team)

  • Removal of the technical burden of hosting, infrastructure and security management through GovCMS SaaS so eSafety can focus on content

  • The many benefits of GovCMS, including:

    • A stable and reliable CMS

    • 24x7 enterprise support and proactive monitoring

    • Security compliance at the highest level

    • An easy-to-use CMS

    • Compliance with DTA’s Digital Service Standards

    • Compliance with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines

    • Responsiveness across different devices (desktop, tablet and smartphones)

  • Predictable costs going forward on GovCMS SaaS

  • A solid backend solution for content editors to work with so that different design elements are consistent throughout the site

  • Consistent presentation across eSafety’s many different content types

  • Backend logic that colour codes shared elements to be aligned with the sub-branding of each section

Why Salsa Digital?

eSafety had heard about us through our involvement with GovCMS. After engaging three vendors from the GovCMS Panel to conduct an initial site assessment, they were impressed by our extensive GovCMS knowledge and expertise and invited us to formally respond to their tender. eSafety then engaged us to work with their internal Digital team to build the new eSafety website.

About Salsa Digital

We’re an open source digital agency focused on helping governments and enterprises become more open, more connected and more consolidated. We’re committed to the open government movement and to the many benefits this ethos provides including transparency, innovation, and sharing and improving problems and patterns solved by the pioneers before us.

The open source movement has played a key role in the evolution of Salsa. Over the years, as technology and practices have developed, this commitment to open source has grown to encompass a much broader base beyond open source CMSsopen data, open platform and open design. We contribute and deliver services in all these areas, with a strong involvement in specific open source initiatives such as Drupal, Wordpress, GovCMS, Single Digital Presence, Kubernetes/Lagoon and CKAN.

About GovCMS

GovCMS is the whole-of-government digital platform, built on open source software Drupal. GovCMS has two options Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS). SaaS websites are fully managed by the GovCMS team in the Department of Finance and remove the platform management burden from agencies. However SaaS sites are generally more limited in what they can deliver in terms of design and functionality compared to PaaS sites (which have to be fully managed by the individual government agency/organisation).

Salsa is the implementation partner and ongoing service provider of the second-generation GovCMS platform. We also run the GovCMS helpdesk.

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