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Council of Australian Governments

Background

The pre-existing COAG site was extremely dated in terms of its design and functionality. The Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet sought to improve the site with a modern look and feel and with much enhanced search functionality within a Drupal 7 CMS. A solution for better content sharing on Facebook and Twitter was also sought.

Design and architecture solution

The site design features a softer colour palette that is continued across the top banner, where a faint seven pointed star represents COAG Member states and territories, while alluding to the Australian flag and the union it represents. The design rationale was structured around presenting clear, more visually intuitive, links to COAG’s work, meeting outcomes and reform agenda. A home page banner, for instance, scrolls through a series of key policy areas of major concern to everyday Australians. Each links to information as to what COAG backed reforms are taking place or are on the horizon. Areas covered include building a better health system, education, fighting homelessness, closing the gap between indigenous and non indigenous Australians, energy issues... anything where responsibility is shared by the Commonwealth and State and Territory governments. The scrolling banners (a similar “reform agenda” banner sits at the bottom of the home page) provide a quick snapshot of COAG’s presence and relevance to so many critical areas of policy reform. Also, from the home page, strategically placed links direct site visitors to the landing page of each top menu area, making finding the right information a responsibility of design, almost as much as development

The new information architecture was the result of consultation with stakeholders to refine a more workable and intuitive taxonomy that identified and highlighted the types of information site visitors most sought. COAG is mandated to promote and report, so a highly effective navigation is imperative.

Development solution

Following the templating of approved design concepts and integration into Drupal CMS version 7 for content authoring, Link undertook migration of content from the existing COAG website into the new site via the Drupal interface. This coincided with HTML markup of all PDF documents from December 2007 onwards based on approximately 12 meetings.

But the development focus was on creating an enhanced search functionality, through additional Drupal modules. The additional modules allow all document based content to be added to the site using a record based module which includes the categorisation of data to both meeting occurrences and key issues. Complementing the search categorisation, keyword tagging for all records was included to further enhance searching capabilities.

Content sharing functionality now allows the user to create a tiny URL of the page for posting on Facebook or Twitter.

The site has been built to meet relevant W3C and AGIMO compliance specifications.

Learn more more Link Digital's approach to web design work on their blog.