One Year In: New York Website Redesign Drives Major Traffic Gains [Dec. 23, 2015]
By Alex Koma
A year after New York state unveiled its first website redesign in more than 15 years, state officials say the update was well worth the wait.
Even Gov. Andrew Cuomo is touting the new NY.gov‘s record-breaking traffic numbers: The website’s page views quadrupled to 17.2 million from 3.9 million a year ago, according to the state’s Office of Information Technology Services. The office also reported seeing double the number of users overall and triple the amount of mobile traffic, and noted the rate at which users leave the site after visiting just one page has declined by more than 20 percent.
Melanie Galinski, the site’s general manager, attributed the bump to significant improvements on the site.
Before the update, “any time we wanted to make a change it required an engineer,” Galinski told StateScoop. “We had a broken search, it was impossible to use on any type of mobile device, full of dead links. It just definitely had the out of touch, out of date, out of order type feel.”
Now she said the site uses responsive design, a more powerful search function and a section that “customizes information around government to the citizen” based on where they live in the state. There were editorial changes as well: The new site lays out available government services in plain language and groups them by category rather than by the agency that runs them, making transactions easier to complete and keeping people coming back for more.
Overall, it’s easier to use, she said.
“I think people aren’t as frustrated as they used to be,” Galinski said.
For the redesign, Galinski and her team decided to work with software-as-a-service company Acquia to use open-source web content management platform Drupal. The changes the team made were crucial for ramping up the site’s mobile traffic, Galinski said. Her staff recorded more than 1.9 million mobile sessions over the last year with the new site, compared to just over 524,000 a year ago. She credits the site’s responsive design for ending the “pinching and squeezing” required to use the old site on a mobile device, and building that traffic in the process.