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WA whole-of-government service centre locator

Salsa built WA’s service centre location feature to create a personalised, location-based experience for WA citizens.

The purpose

To create a more personalised experience for WA citizens and drive API use in WA.

The players

The WA Department of Premier and Cabinet (DPC) works across a range of areas, including infrastructure, policy and reform, digital government and state security.

The challenge

WA DPC wanted to create a location feature on the WA Government portal WA.gov.au that allowed users to easily see their nearest ServiceWA centres, including a map and centre details. This would help create a more personalised experience for WA citizens. DPC had a strict timeframe and budget, and wanted to set up a ‘base’ solution that created a framework for the future.

The solution

The first step was to create a schema that could be used to capture data for ServiceWA centres, using Laravel Voyager data store. For MVP launch, this captures the service centre locations and opening hours, but has been built future-friendly, so other information can be added, such as the types of services available at a particular ServiceWA location.

The next stage of the project was to build the API to retrieve the data and display it on the Drupal website. This included an API for geocoding services and endpoints to return all service centres near the location within the set radius.

Users see an embedded map that shows service locations using red pins. On hover, overview information is displayed. The user can then click on that to see full details on a dedicated page. Currently, the pages use a combination of information that’s added manually via the content management system (CMS) and information that’s automatically displayed using the data from the datastore. At the moment, only the centre name/location and opening hours are generated dynamically but in the future additional elements will be automatically rendered, including the services available at a particular location.

The solution has also been set up so the metadata is used by Google search. When a user goes to Google and searches, they’re shown the ServiceWA centre data including opening hours in a structured way.

We created the feature to be ‘location aware’ so that if a user has set up their browser to share/use their location, the solution uses that data to show the nearest ServiceWA centre. Alternatively, users can enter their suburb or postcode to find the nearest centre. We configured the Voyager data store to capture radiuses from a user’s location to display the nearest centres. Users can also set their location so it’s saved next time they visit.

The project turnaround was fast and agile. We built the initial backlog quickly, worked with DPC to approve the backlog and then delivered across two sprints with a short user acceptance testing, driven by the project deadline.

The benefits

The main benefits are:

  • WA citizens can access a more personalised, location-driven online experience

  • WA citizens can find services in their area more easily

  • Metadata is exposed to Google, creating another way for users to discover the centres

  • WA DPC can now manage information on ServiceWA centre locations quickly and easily, via the data store rather than individual static pages in the CMS

  • The solution is future-friendly, allowing more automation via Voyager and the API

Why Salsa Digital?

Salsa was recommended by one of the Drupal developers within WA DPC, who’d previously worked with Salsa CTO Stuart Rowlands. WA DPC was looking for a reliable partner who could commit to the short timeframe. WA DPC recognised and reference-checked the work we’ve done (and continue to do) with other major government programs and jurisdictions. Salsa put together a considered proposal outlining the scope, timelines, assumptions, risks, mitigations and costs. We were awarded the job and started straight away.

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