The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) is tasked with protecting and managing the state’s wildlife resources and facilitating public participation in resource management activities. An important resource for the public, with more than 5.5 million visitors per year, the MDC websites provide information on how to use, enjoy, and learn about the state’s fish, forests, and wildlife. Popular topics include hunting and fishing seasons, regulations, programs, and events and information about land management assistance, educational resources, and natural history. While the site is primarily maintained by the MDC web team, the department contracted with GovWebworks in 2016 for ongoing assistance with Drupal development and user experience updates.
Under this contract, GWW was selected for the Drupal 8 re-platforming and management of the accompanying redesign. The project requirements included consolidating three separate sites (Hunting and Fishing, Discover Nature, and Fishing Report) onto the main MDC site so that content changes and technical updates (such as bug fixes and new features) could all be done in one place. This would also make it easier to share content and data (formerly on separate sites) and provide opportunities to show audiences additional related and relevant content altogether on all pages. MDC also wanted to ensure that the new site maintained consistent functionality for existing capabilities, as well as mobile and accessibility requirements. To meet these needs, our design and UX teams undertook an in-depth discovery phase to explore refinement to design, UX, content flow and organization, and other user interactions.
Based on the discovery phase, GWW recommended a component-based approach to the redesign, providing a set of reusable components to be used across the site for text, media, galleries, slideshows, featured content, news, and other information. The component library helps ensure consistency across the site and reduces the creation of snowflakes that can increase scope and cost. Site admins and content creators are able to create pages using a Page Builder system which allows them to add one or more sections in rows to a page. The user can also define how many columns are in each section, and how wide each column is. Components are then dragged/dropped between columns and sections. To make sure information is easy to find on the 17,500 page site, a Solr-based search system provides a faceted search with results displayed in a sidebar block of available facets allowing users to filter results by taxonomy term, content type, and date, as relevant. The new site features a clean, intuitive design and navigation, with content that is organized and easy to find for MDC’s engaged community.