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Helping government build a more sustainable environment

The National Australian Built Environment Rating System (NABERS) wanted a new, modern website that more accurately represented its brand, while also providing new functionality to help users find NABERS' ratings and information quickly and easily.

The players

NABERS is a national rating system that measures the environmental performance of Australian buildings, tenancies and apartment buildings. NABERS measures the energy, water and waste performance, and indoor environment quality of a building or tenancy and its impact on the environment.

Salsa Digital worked closely with the NABERS’ management, IT department, subject matter experts, content team and Designer Rice (who’d done the rebranding), to create an entirely new user experience and website.

The problem

NABERS is a government agency passionately focused on having a positive environmental impact. The agency encourages Australian buildings to become more energy, water and waste efficient. However the brand was a little dated and the website really didn’t allow NABERS to market itself as it was difficult to update, crowded with content, challenging to navigate and didn’t provide the user experience NABERS wanted. NABERS needed a fresh, modern website with user experience at its centre. They had specific ideas for tools that would make it significantly easier for users to find critical information such as existing NABERS ratings, accredited Assessors’ contact information, and Commitment Agreements. They also wanted people to be able to easily estimate their own rating based on a number of inputs.

Ideally the website would be delivered within a six month time frame. NABERS went out to tender to find the best provider for the job.

The solution

Once we won the tender, our starting point was Drupal 7 GovCMS SaaS, which NABERS had chosen as its preferred platform for security reasons.

For Salsa to implement this project successfully, it was crucial to understand the website vision for various stakeholders and understand what customers would expect from the website and its tools. We started with a number of discovery workshops, which set the basis for our product backlog. To accommodate the tight time frame, we worked very agile and iteratively with the design and development running in parallel throughout the project. Discovery on a section of the site or a tool was followed by wireframes, then the backend development, during which time the high fidelity designs were created, just in time for the frontend development.

NABERS and Salsa worked closely together to ensure that the budget was used to create the highest value for users. For example, we learned early on that the NABERS rating register would be the hero of the website and focused a lot of our attention there.

NABERS register

In summary the scope for the project was to conceptualise, design and build a Drupal 7 GovCMS SaaS site including:

NABERS homepage

The benefits

Working in close partnership, we were able to create a website that delivered on NABERS' goals. Some of the benefits include:

  • A well-structured and easy-to-navigate website

  • Website content that can easily be edited

  • A modern, fresh looking website that fulfils NABERS' desire for a site that doesn’t have a typical government look and feel

  • Easily accessible tools so users can find information quickly

  • A new NABERS rating register, which allows users to access rating data easily via a map or various filters.

The new site and features take NABERS online service to a new level and provide a truly user-centred website experience

Why Salsa Digital?

Salsa Digital had the right people with the right knowledge and skillsets to meet the project’s needs, including Drupal; GovCMS SaaS; business analysis and project management; user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) design; knowledge around mapping tools (as previously demonstrated on the Victorian Budget site); and frontend and backend development expertise. Every person who touched this project was dedicated to excelling the user experience on the NABERS website and wasn’t afraid to dive into the depths of the technicalities of NABERS ratings to achieve this. Salsa stayed agile and flexible at all times to accommodate changing requirements, while also keeping a close eye on the budget and timeline to ensure that any impact was known and understood by all stakeholders.

“I just wanted to say a big thank you Salsa, Julie and the rest of the team. You have exceeded the brief and built us a website that provides the right amount of form, function and a nice clear design. You have also been great to work with and the fact we got through this relatively smoothly from different locations is a testament to both teams. We look forward to working with you again, Phase 2 planning has already started!”

- Andrew Dunne, Head of Innovation and Development

About Salsa Digital

We’re an enterprise-grade digital agency focused on open source for social good and innovation. We’re committed to the open everything movement (OpenX) 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 content management systems (open CMSs)open 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.

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