Victorian Government's community engagement platform
For the Victorian Government, “community engagement” is not just ticking a box, it’s an essential part of the process. With projects ranging from the North East Link to the Metro Tunnel Project, it’s essential to get community engagement right, first time.
Which is why the Victorian Government launched Engage Victoria. This online engagement platform enables the community to participate in the development of government policies and programs and share their ideas and opinions on a range of issues and topics relevant to all Victorians.
To develop Engage Victoria, District leveraged the extensive engagement experience of Digital Victoria. Co-design workshops between Digital Victoria and District’s cross-functional team explored workflows, design, documentation and the admin user experience, resulting in bespoke participation tools and workflow customisations.
In 2016, the Victorian Department of Premier and Cabinet began the Single Digital Presence program to consolidate Victorian government websites into a common design framework, and deliver a consistent website design and experience for all users.
In accordance with this mission, the District team used the architecture of District Engage SaaS to apply a custom theme to the engagement website using visual components from Digital Victoria’s Ripple frontend library. This ensured a consistent approach to website design and experience for all users of Victorian Government websites.
Digital Victoria’s ability to customise the District Engage SaaS platform to deliver a better experience for website administrators was a key driver of the pivot to the District platform.
Digital Victoria drove the backlog with business requirements and detailed acceptance criteria, which shaped the development sprints. District Engage’s quality assurance team then tested the workflow improvements and provided a testing environment for external system usability scale (SUS) testing.
Admin User Experience
Making life easier for the 1200+ administrators was a fundamental objective for both District Engage and Digital Victoria. To achieve this we initiated workshops with key stakeholders on administration workflow, interface terminology and reporting. These co-design sessions were key to delivering Digital Victoria’s mission to better serve the Victorian public in community engagement.
The District Engage team also developed innovative new features such as customised export schema to XLS and CSV formats for better engagement consultation reporting. This improved feedback to both internal and external Engage Victoria users.
The migration of data from the previous platform was one of the more complex processes undertaken in this project. Over 50 GB of data was moved during the migration process. We untangled complex project data relationships and significantly simplified the underlying database structure. The number of data tables were reduced by a factor of twenty.
The District team carefully crafted migration scripts over several sprints, enabling continuous data updates. To maintain data integrity and performance gains we conducted regression testing on each incremental data migration.
In total we migrated over 15 million records across to the new platform, including thousands of projects, administrator accounts and historical submission consultation data. The simplified database structure allows easier data maintenance, quicker data integrations and faster performance.
- Co-design workshops with key stakeholders to improve platform outcomes for all Victorian Government department administrators using the platform
- Rigorous application of the Victorian Government Design System (Ripple) to frontend platform elements to ensure alignment of the platform within the Victorian Government digital ecosystem
- Application of best-practice security protocols across all environments and administration functionality
- Vastly simplified data structure for ease of data maintenance and future migrations
- An administration system that encourages conformity with the presentation of information and participation tools to make it easier for the public to navigate through projects
- Improved workflow for website administrators that reduces the burden on the core team for engagement consultation approvals
- Better documentation delivery using a modern in-app overlay interface
The District Engage team is now in the continuous improvement phase with a backlog of features planned for the Engage Victoria platform. These upgrades will benefit both engagement administrators and Victorian citizens.
We’ll continue to work with Digital Victoria to assess and implement emerging feature requests from the 1,200+ engagement managers.
The end result is a platform that facilitates stronger engagement with the Victorian public, easier engagement creation by administrators, and ultimately a better connected community who drive improved policy and programs for all Victorians.