We gathered a list of contacts to begin our stakeholder interviews. We had multiple interviews with the same people throughout the whole process because we wanted to make sure we heard everybody. Each microsite has its own purpose and thus needs its own look, its own functionalities, its own story.
Once we began the actual building and testing, we created an email account for all requests and fixes to be forwarded there. We asked for feedback emails as well. As we moved past those first stages, both teams decided we needed one main point of contact on each side. That worked extremely well as we continued developing!
As we were interviewing stakeholders, we were simultaneously conducting a complete analysis of the main site and all of the microsites. We created a full content audit, examined statistics and trends through Google Analytics, and tested what worked well and what needed to go. We presented our analysis to the Delaware County team. They then used the information to see where their site stood as a whole.
“Buckeye Interactive was able to do an analysis of all the information on our site,” said Hawes. “They helped us see what files our audience was not interested in. Their analytics were very helpful as we decided what information to keep on our website and what to get rid of.”
As soon as Delaware County accepted our proposal, our two wonderful teams began collaborating. We developed wireframes and design concepts that we worked on until they were fine-tuned.
From a design standpoint, we needed to create a system that would allow all of the microsites to be consistent but not identical. In order to do this, our design team created five different color palettes each of the stakeholders could choose from. The headers and footers stayed the same, but the theme and colors varied from site to site.
From an engineering standpoint, we needed to figure out how to import a modular structure in WordPress, one that could be easily repeated. Our developers created modules with short codes in them (this was before WordPress 5.0) that made the sites functional and maintainable.
The Delaware County Board of Commissioners had a lot of interest in its website redesign Request for Proposal, even from companies outside of Ohio. But they really wanted to work with an Ohio firm because they wanted the peace of mind of in-person meetings.
But that was not the only reason they selected Buckeye Interactive as their website redesign partner.
“We felt that Buckeye Interactive had really read our RFP and responded appropriately,” said Hawes. “Their time frame was much more realistic than any other. Buckeye Interactive demonstrated that they understood our needs and goals with their straightforward yet on-target response. And they had worked with enough other local government entities that we knew they understood the intricacies of a government site.”
It also helped that Buckeye Interactive did not offer a proprietary system. Instead, we proposed an open-source solution with no license fees and no vendor exclusivity.
“We did not want any proprietary content management systems,” Hawes stated. “We didn’t want to be talked into anyone administering our site for us. Also, we wanted it hosted in our own datacenter, and a lot of the proposals ignored that.”