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New Governor of Victoria website

Salsa Digital created and launched the Governor of Victoria website, a pilot site in Victoria’s whole-of-government digital platform, Single Digital Presence. 

The players

Salsa Digital worked with the Department of Premier and Cabinet (DPC) and the content team from Governor of Victoria to create a new website. The Governor of Victoria site is one of two pilot sites that form part of DPC’s larger Single Digital Presence (SDP) project.

Background: SDP is the Victorian Government’s new digital platform to make it easier for citizens to find, understand and use Victorian Government information. SDP consists of three products — Bay (an open-source platform based on Lagoon), Tide (a Drupal CMS distribution) and Ripple coupled with Nuxt (the frontend presentation layer). Read more about SDP.

The problem

DPC needed pilot sites that could be built as part of the SDP project, with work from the sites then being re-used and key learnings folded into the project methodology. The Governor of Victoria website was chosen as one of the pilots because it:

  • Was in need of a major content update/rewrite

  • Had a highly responsive team, ready to create new content and a new site

  • Was built on an out-of-date Joomla CMS (and was therefore potentially prone to security risks)

The solution

As a completely independent site within the new SDP model (with unique needs) much of the frontend was customised. The visual design was led by DPC, starting with wireframes before progressing to user testing and then high-fidelity designs. Salsa’s frontend themer worked with the DPC/Governor project team to write the code to translate the visual designs into web pages. This was all done using Drupal 8, so the site uses the most up-to-date CMS with full security patches applied. Salsa and DPC also worked together on the backend configuration.

A true pilot/test site, was a great way to start ‘experimenting’ as Salsa built SDP. Drupal distribution Tide, created for this pilot site, was then used as the base for the first/main website on the new SDP platform, Tide had a lot of functionality implemented and covered by automated tests, so re-using it for was a predictable and reliable process.

The Governor of Victoria website was built on the new open source platform Bay and formed a key part of the Bay component of the project. In fact, the completion of this website and the other pilot site for the Department of Treasury and Finance, marked the completion of the Bay product in the SDP project. Deploying these sites on Bay forms a significant part of what was achieved in this site, along with the pilot being a great way to start implementing the distribution Tide architecture and take lessons learnt into the SDP alpha at

The benefits

The Governor of Victoria website was a great opportunity to use a low-traffic website to trial the new technology behind the SDP while also delivering benefits to the Governor of Victoria, including:

  • A new site, with new content (co-written with the Office of the Governor, based on existing content and simplified by using plain English, rather than migrating existing content)

  • An easy-to-use content management system (CMS)

  • An up-to-date CMS, which minimises security risks

  • A responsive site, that can be viewed on desktops, tablets or smartphones

  • A better citizen-experience through improved content, visual design and user interface

  • An accessible site

  • Reduced operational costs because the site is built on the new Bay platform

Benefits to DPC (and Salsa!) included key learnings from the pilot site that could be applied to the much larger build at and the project in general.

Why Salsa Digital?

The Governor of Victoria website was the pilot site that formed part of the larger SDP project. Salsa won the SDP tender in 2017 on the strength of our response, which not only demonstrated our ability to build a distribution to meet DPC's requirements but also showed innovative thinking around the open platform (which then became Bay).

About Salsa Digital

We’re a highly specialised, 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 CMS) — 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.

Read more about SDP

SDP is a total digital solution, a digital landscape the Victorian Government can use to create a unified online presence. Below are more related Salsa publications covering everything from the value proposition to technical case studies:

Read Our Media Release



More Case Studies

Governor Victoria website
eSafety case study thumbnail
Frontend case study

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