As one of the largest and most diverse states in the nation, New York State is consistently viewed as a national policy leader.
Understanding that a Government's web presence is now one of the most tangible modern representations of its values and, oftentimes, the primary means of engaging an increasingly digitally savvy constituency, New York State partnered with Code and Theory to fundamentally rethink its presence online by redesigning NY.gov and Governor.ny.gov.
01 The ask
New York State quickly recognized the power of a truly responsive digital solution to help each citizen – from villagers in the Adirondacks to city dwellers from Buffalo to Brooklyn – stay informed and in touch with the latest information from across the State's myriad agencies.
Accessible from any device, the new NY.gov and Governor.ny.gov aim to be the source for the most important transactions for any citizen of New York State.
From the outset of the project, New York State and Code and Theory outlined a clear approach to guide each site's redesign – putting citizens' needs first.
Take for example, a new small business owner looking to open a restaurant. Previously, he or she would need to comb information from across multiple websites to understand all the steps necessary for opening a new business, from registering a tax ID number, to obtaining proper licenses and permits.
With the new NY.gov, task-based information is consolidated into a single location and presented in simple, easy to understand language, helping each citizen get the information they are looking for quickly and easily.
02 THE OUTCOME
From design and content structure, to the style and tone in which information is presented, it was a complete overhaul from the inside out:
RETHINKING THE WAY GOVERNMENT COMMUNICATES WITH ITS CITIZENS
Developing a clear visual design was only one part of increasing overall user satisfaction with the new NY.gov. We quickly understood that if users were to benefit from the redesign, we needed to put "Services" at the forefront. Every transaction – from renewing a license to obtaining a business permit – should be easily digestible, actionable and most of all, easy to understand. Over the course of three months, Code and Theory partnered with representatives from agencies across the Government to construct a comprehensive framework around Services that would facilitate easier access, findability and browse-ability of every available transaction. The result? Our small business owner no longer has to sort through indecipherable acronyms and overly-formal government language to get the information she needs.
A SIMPLE, UNIVERSAL, NAVIGATION
With an ecosystem that spans hundreds of independent sites and web applications, New York State and Code and Theory were faced with an important question: How do we introduce our new content to millions of visitors who may not use NY.gov as their entry-point to the New York State web ecosystem? The solution was a simple and flexible embeddable navigation that lives across all sites and applications within the NY.gov domain. The navigation is designed to simplify user entry points to three core areas while allowing them to dig into specific content on click. The navigation is also built on a flexible framework, allowing site managers from across the state a version of the navigation that is compatible with their existing site environments.
KEEPING IT LOCAL
One of the questions we tried to answer at the outset of the project was the common refrain: "How is Government relevant to me?" We quickly realized that if we could engineer a way to demonstrate the great things going on in a citizen's neighborhood, it could drive a deeper connection. To act on this, we developed localization functionality that leverages a user's IP address or GPS location and data feeds developed as part of the NY Open Data program to provide content relevant to them. Information cards about traffic alerts, farmer's markets, and even the location of the nearest DMV, are now surfaced prominently on the homepage. Users can also learn about events happening near them, and explore more about the county in which they live on dedicated location-specific pages. This localization functionality positions the new NY.gov is the go-to destination for up-to-the-minute information for citizens to discover what's happening near them.
03 A NEW BEGINNING
The new NY.gov launches a new chapter in the way in which Government communicates with its citizens online.
Code and Theory is privileged to have had the opportunity to create a digital experience that positions New York State as a leader digital innovation. The new NY.gov reflects the values of New York State and its dedication to providing best-in-class digital experiences for a savvy and diverse citizenry.
In October, 2015, one year after the launch of the new NY.gov, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a nearly 300% rise in users and 400% increase in page views, indicative--we believe--of peoples’ hunger for more effective digital resources and more responsive government.