Case Study

New South Wales Government

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51 %

increase in users

21 %

increase in page views

22 %

increase in average time on page



The Office of Energy and Climate Change’s previous AdaptNSW site didn’t serve the needs of its evolving audience.


The new site needed to meet multiple accessibility standards and government mandates, as well as resolve cumbersome content authoring workflows.

Our Solution

Drupal CMS, Acquia Cloud Platform


Within the first five months of the new site launch, metrics have shown:

  • 51% increase in users 
  • 21% increase in page views
  • 22% increase in average time on page

The Client

AdaptNSW is a website produced by the Office of Energy and Climate Change, New South Wales Treasury (OECC), to “inform and empower communities, businesses, households, and government to adapt to climate change.”

The Situation

A previous version of the site – released in 2014 – was primarily intended to deliver climate change projections and data to a narrow audience of scientific practitioners. However, as OECC reviewed its site usage data over time, it determined that a substantial number of visitors were seeking more basic information and the site’s existing structure and content were not meeting their needs.

In redeveloping its website, OECC sought to: 

  • Provide a broader segment of the state’s 8.2 million residents with timely, relevant content that could be more easily accessed through clearer navigation pathways. 
  • Motivate stakeholders at all readiness levels – including sectoral groups OECC labeled as “procrastinators,” “hunter-gatherers,” “problem-solvers,” and “torch-bearers” – to turn their interest in climate change information into tangible action.
  • Speak to the diversity of values people have by using content to connect climate change to broader impacts on health, business, and recreation throughout the state.
  • Add new communication channels that would enable other governmental agencies to inform their audience of upcoming workshops and conferences.
  • Share concrete examples of climate actions taken by individual residents, groups, businesses, and other organizations to inspire readers to action.

The Challenge

While the overarching goal of the AdaptNSW website redesign was to drive behavioral change among its target stakeholder groups, usability and accessibility were defined as additional challenges to be solved. 

In particular, OECC needed to bring its website in line with the NSW Government Digital Design System (DDS), a toolkit of patterns and components used to streamline the building of digital services for creators in NSW Government. The NSW Government also mandates OECC to comply with WCAG 2.1 AA. As its previous website fell short of meeting this accessibility standard, OECC risked alienating visitors and suffering potential negative compliance actions. 

Internally, the OECC team hoped that the new website deployment would resolve cumbersome content authoring workflows, as well as provide additional design flexibility to reduce the “walls of text” found in existing site content.

The Solution

OECC brought design and development agency Sitback Solutions to the project. When Sitback joined, OECC had already conducted user research, journey mapping, and persona development to understand the needs of its different sectoral groups. OECC had also worked with Deloitte Digital to produce initial UX designs, which Sitback’s team adapted to align with NSW DDS standards. 

To improve information accessibility, Sitback optimized their site to simplify AdaptNSW’s content design and publishing workflows. Specifically, Sitback extended the Drupal Paragraphs module, allowing OECC to create structured content blocks using dynamic templates. Now, OECC can easily add hero components to pages, create elements such as carousels and accordions, and publish visually engaging content at speed.

Sitback also built a custom climate projections map which utilizes multiple datasets to display climate projections across different regions within New South Wales. The map lets users easily interpret climate data trends by region and future time period. The map provides users with a simple, engaging solution for accessing the data they need. Users can switch seamlessly between datasets without leaving or refreshing the page, and OECC retains the ability to easily update the tool with future datasets. Plus, the map includes the ability to save configurations, allowing OECC users to share specific versions of the map in their communications and articles, while AdaptNSW visitors can use predefined maps in community, academic, and research settings to ensure everybody is on the same page. 

Finally, Sitback implemented best practices to create a positive experience for AdaptNSW visitors, including:

  • Implementing concatenation, minification, and caching to improve overall speed and performance.
  • Ensuring all code was written in an efficient, dynamic way, allowing reuse without hard-coded values. 
  • Removing superfluous HTML output from Drupal and writing webhooks and CSS to ensure code was appropriately presented according to the DDS. 
  • Incorporating contributed modules where available to save time, reduce cost, and allow for support from the development community.

Acquia’s ease of deployment was vital to Sitback’s efficiency and the overall outcomes of the AdaptNSW site development process. Utilizing Pipeline scripts, Sitback was able to automate deployment between the site’s Bitbucket code repository and its live Acquia environment. As a result, testing and deployment processes that used to require 15-45 minutes and multiple steps can now be completed with a simple code push, which will be especially valuable as Sitback continues to improve the AdaptNSW website. 

Acquia’s infrastructure also lent itself to solid site performance and site security for OECC, in conjunction with the native capabilities built into the Drupal CMS. Another advantage that was particularly helpful to the project was Acquia’s ability to support a government requirement that any data or files be hosted within Australia. Acquia’s support in ensuring all of the AdaptNSW site infrastructure is stored within Australia prevented delays in taking the project live.

The Results

From a brand perspective, the new AdaptNSW website creates a more consistent experience with other government websites. Within the first five months of the new site launch, metrics have shown:

  • 51% increase in users 
  • 21% increase in page views
  • 22% increase in average time on page

The agency is also tracking downloads of its “Climate Risk Ready Guide” and related tools, as well as relative engagement across pages. For example, before the launch of its new website, the “Causes of Climate Change” page represented roughly 13% of all site views. Now, the page accounts for approximately 8% of views, suggesting engagement with a broader number of climate change resources across the site and increased engagement overall.

Implementing site libraries has also allowed OECC to understand user preferences better. Because OECC can now integrate its newsletter and website resources, the agency can use click tracking to gauge which stories are particularly interesting to readers. Over time, OECC’s ability to use these insights to create more targeted content will likely translate to even stronger brand perceptions and visitor experiences.

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