Bold composition and use of negative space draw the user's attention to important information, increasing focus and clarity. The soft colour palette was designed to be inclusive of Landcare groups working in a variety of environments, from the bush to coastal areas. We carefully selected typefaces that complemented the colour palette and composition of the site and are legible at smaller sizes, addressing the fact that many users are older and access the site from smaller devices. Accessibility was a key consideration, so careful attention was paid to colour contrasts to ensure the site was suitable for users with low vision. As a result, the design of the site exceeds the WCAG 2.0 guidelines.
Meeting the needs of an organisation with 60,000 members required a unique approach to community consultation. To understand the diversity of the community's needs we travelled 1,163 kilometres across Victoria and involved 195 people from the Landcare community in a range of activities including one-on-one interviews, stakeholder workshops, online surveys, prototype testing and design testing. The new website enables Landcare groups to engage with each other more easily, featuring information such as group location, contact details, their purpose or mission and upcoming meetings for all groups. This is a major step forward for Landcare - their previous website had no information for 90% of the groups listed.
A major theme emerged from our discussions with members - government-funded facilitators were making a huge difference in the Landcare community, helping groups to apply for grants, organise weekly meetings and connect to other parts of the system. This insight led us to develop a vision for the new digital solution: it should operate as an online facilitator. This meant creating a simple process for uploading information, one that doesn't require expert knowledge in using IT systems - members login and update information using simple and intuitive forms. This was a huge improvement from the previous website, which required users to read and understand an instruction manual before uploading any new information.
The new website facilitates cross-pollination between groups. Through the use of an intelligent tagging system, previously siloed information has been linked by theme. This allows groups to find new information from across the community or find similar groups that may help them in their efforts. Landcare Victoria also publish a quarterly magazine and wanted to take it online. We developed a structure for the online magazine that allows articles to be shared on social media, associated with groups and matched to resources. Magazine articles now play a crucial role in promoting Landcare to a broader audience and encouraging members to use the website.
With a short timeframe and a hard deadline, it was important we created a strong agile framework for designing and building the website. To do this, we implemented two very important project activities - a community 'champion' group and a dedicated project room. The champion group featured representative members from the Landcare community. The group met once a week during the course of the project to make decisions and keep the project in line with community values. The project room allowed us to meet in a dedicated space where work was shared on the surrounding walls. Working this way allowed us to collaborate and be transparent with the champion group as the work was being done.
The new Landcare website was launched in September 2016 at the National Landcare Conference. Not only is it easy to use and fully responsive, but now gives groups a simple interface for uploading and editing information - a first for the community. Beyond ease-of-use, Landcare now have an integrated digital solution matched to their core business objectives. The site allows them to monitor, measure and adapt the solution as the community continues to grow and change into the future. The site now functions as a core service for its members and audience, presenting a massive shift in how they communicate with the world, and delivers a huge return on investment.