The website of the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) will be modern, well-designed, and easy to navigate. It will work with DNREC’s data and document management systems and link to DNREC’s eGovernment applications. And it will be integrated with DNREC social media.
The graphic design of the new DNREC website is open and light. It organizes information both by the organizational structure of the agency (who in DNREC does what) and by topics of interest to users (what does the person visiting the website need to know about?).
The site uses categories to reflect the organizational structure. All Division of Air Quality web content, for example, will be in the same category. This makes it easy to find information about specific Divisions, offices or major projects.
The new DNREC website uses tags to connect pages with similar content across organizational lines. Much of the information on the DNREC website involves more than one Division. All pages having to do with oceans and coasts, for example, will carry an “ocean and coasts” tag. Tags make it possible to provide a list of “related topics” as part of every web page on the site.
We studied several different data sets to see what content is most interesting to users of the existing website. We looked at data from Google Analytics to see which pages are most popular. We reviewed DNREC news releases to see what information we are pushing out. We looked at records of media and other inquiries to learn what people are asking about. And we have begun a series of surveys, asking users of the new site what they want to see.
Based on that review, we have identified twelve topic areas to start with. We’ve created portal pages for each topic area. Each has links to the most popular and most useful pages about each topic on the existing DNREC website. They include contact information, public meeting information, and links to news, social media, and other sources.
Topic-based tags on the state’s News Server link DNREC news releases to each topic area.
The list of featured topic pages may change over time, as different issues come to the fore. Some issues are seasonal. Some may rise to prominence as the work of the agency, and the needs of our constituents, change.
State agency websites must be easy to use and understand. They follow a set of shared design and software specifications, the Common Look and Feel (CLF), that is regularly updated by the Delaware Government Information Center (GIC).
The existing DNREC website is an example of an early version of the Common Look and Feel. It is CLF version 2.0. Most state agencies have moved to CLF 3.0. The current state web portal, delaware.gov, is a test-bed for web design updates. It is an example of CLF 3.5.
The new DNREC “alpha” site uses the newest version of the Common Look and Feel, CLF 4.0, which features an open, airy design. It is fully responsive (it works well on all types and sizes of devices). The Government Information Center has begun to migrate state agency websites, notably those of the Governor, Lt. Governor and Attorney General, to the new CLF4.0.