For a local Housing Authority, their website had not been updated for over 10+ years. When approached by this Housing Authority, we did an exhaustive discovery to figure out what was needed for the new website redesign. The previous website was hosted by AT&T and the Content Management System (CMS) being used was Dreamweaver.
Along with not looking visually pleasing, the previous website had several issues that included the following.
After assessing the old Housing Authority website, EnlightWorks started to do a discovery and interview with key Housing Authority staff that would be responsible for updating and managing the website. The staff outlined what they wanted to improve the new website which was essentially all of the issues mentioned above. It was decided that EnlightWorks would go with Weebly as the platform we would build the new website on. The reason we went with Weebly was for the following reasons.
The Housing Authority staff provided a list of other Housing Authority websites they liked and EnlightWorks provided theme examples from Weebly for them to choose from. From there we started building the Preview.
During the discovery phase, we also did an extensive review of the website to get a baseline to work from. This review looked at the performance of the current website, how usable it is, the security of the website, technical aspects of the website and the website’s Search Engine Optimization (SEO) rating was.
Working with the Housing Authority's staff, we built out a preview for them to review. The Housing Authority put together a review team with the key stakeholders to go over the website preview and approve and suggest any changes needed. There was several back in forth sessions during this process, but the real advantage was the Housing Authority was able to review the previews and see the changes with a live preview. With Weebly, we are able to setup previews that are live so the Housing Authority is able to see any changes as they happen. This helped fine tune the website pretty quickly and accurately so when the website was ready to go live, it would be 100% ready. The key to this process was making sure all of the Housing Authority staff was available and made timely suggestions so the project was not delayed. During this phase, we made sure there were certain elements implemented that made it easier for visitors (especially mobile users) to find what they needed. We also made sure to customize the theme based off the Housing Authorities branding. We also designed custom graphics and selected and provided stock photography that was consistent with the Housing Authority’s brand.
Implementation and Testing
After the preview website was approved by the Housing Authority, it was time to make the website go live. During the process, we worked with the domain host provider (Network Solutions) and DNS provider (GoDaddy) to make sure the Housing Authority’s domain now points to the new website. All the while, even during the Discovery and Preview phase, we were using a Project Plan to guide the whole process. The client also had visibility to the progress of this project plan as well.
Some of the key features not previously mentioned we are now able to implement include:
After the implementation of the new site, further testing was needed. During this phase, we made sure the website met accessibility requirements for people with disabilities and we made sure the website could be viewed on any mobile and tablet devices. This was extremely important since now almost half of internet users access the internet using some sort of mobile device or tablet device. We also made sure all links worked as well. Using Weebly’s built in SEO capabilities, we were able to setup basic SEO settings so the Housing Authority’s website could be found on major search engines.
After the website went live, EnlightWorks setup accounts for Google Analytics and Google Search console so we can measure ongoing performance of the site and understand where users are going when on the new Housing Authority website. For this particular website, we do see that most visits to the website were to the Housing Choice Voucher/Section 8 page and home ownership pages. With this, we are able to optimize those pages so that visitors could easily navigate to them and find what they needed. Also, we are being able to see with Analytics that just under half of the visitors were from mobile phones and tablet devices. We again made sure the mobile views were optimized. With the ongoing optimization, EnlightWorks has been able to assist with implementing other needed features like an event management system, upgraded form system for online applications and ongoing design support.
This project with the Housing Authority was an exciting project for EnlightWorks. We believe based on this project and our overall experience working with Government agencies, we can bring similar success to other Housing Agencies and other government websites.
Please contact us to learn more about this project in more detail.