A user centered web portal to connect with citizens
York Region is a growing and diverse regional municipality in
Southern Ontario, Canada. Governed by York Region Council,
the Region is made up of nine diverse towns and cities.
Akendi was chosen to work with York Region on designing and
delivering a new website that would meet the diverse needs
of citizens. This was accomplished through the creation of a
service-based and user centered website that connects with
users, creates a sense of pride and overcomes the silo format
that government agencies can suffer from.
York Region's previous website did not accurately reflect
the vibrant demographic or attitudes of its citizens. Their
website was dated, not sized for modern day browsers and
didn't provide mobile access. It conveyed a low-quality feel
and did not engage users, inspire them or make them feel
proud of where they live. Most importantly, the navigation
structure created difficulty navigating to key user tasks as
it assumed users would have intrinsic knowledge of
department offerings. The challenge was to present York
Region in a more visually interesting and compelling way that
users could identify with and feel confident using. Akendi
worked with York Region to redefine its web presence.
Our new website
has been developed to enhance the user experience. The
website's intuitive navigation makes it much easier to find
information that's important to our residents and other
stakeholders. With a responsive design that adjusts the
website for easy viewing on any device, the new website is
convenient and accessible.
York Region Chairman
and CEO Bill Fisch
Akendi conducted extensive user research with people from all
nine municipalities in York Region as well as stakeholder
interviews with members from York Region's six departments.
From this personas were created allowing York Region
employees to better understand what users do when on the
website. To improve website navigation and architecture,
Akendi conducted an inventory of all services and which
department was responsible for delivery. Card sorting
sessions were conducted with users from all municipalities to
better understand their mental models when categorizing
content on the website. Drawing on interview and card sorting
data, a service-based information architecture was created
for the new website. This allowed users to access the
information they needed quickly and efficiently without
requiring knowledge on department structures or offering.
Over 50 wireframes were created and usability testing was
conducted to ensure that users could complete their tasks on
the website without difficulty. The visual approach supported
the tasks that users have on the website while showcasing the
best of York Region. Vibrant, fresh colours, and vivid
photography created visual and emotional interest that
engaged citizens as they interacted with the website.
The final website creates an inspiring and enjoyable experience
for residents and employees alike regardless of device and
platform used to access the website. The website gives a
positive, approachable, professional and welcoming feel while
creating a sense of pride with residents, businesses and