In may 2018 I had the opportunity to take part as UX Designer to the development of a new web portal for one of the main national public health institution in Italy. Their website’s last development was dated more than ten years earlier and it hosted more than 10k articles.
While most of the participants saw the goal in a new layout, I shifted the process towards a whole solution, trying – ad the only designer involved- to bring some Design Thinking into practice.
Dealing with complexity
A consistent amount of time was dedicated to get to know the institution trough its website, in order to learn more about its activities, target groups, kind of published documents and information, as well as feeling on my own the frustration a daily visitor had beacuse of the outdated technology.
Following this sentence, you’ll see three iconic images: the website existing information architecture coloured to highlight the content’s level of depth, the target group, and the spread of internal cross-linking to a specific page.
The design approach
After one moth of research, mapping and brainstorming, I decided to not proceed straight with a solution, but to tell the way to follow to design the new website together. The complexity involved was the result of years of unchallenged one, and alone I wasn’t able to perform a good solution.
I started showing some simple sketches to visually identify the solution, both as a goal to achieve and as a set of technical components:
Once the team agreed to the plan, we moved step by step into defining guidelines for the new system architecture and relative requirements.
We started defining the multi database data aggregation, to be integrate into dynamic webpages
Aside of these aspects was the definition of target groups, kind of contents and datatypes. A generic meta-structure of the page was also developed, in order to allow a flexible composition of the pages preserving a general family feeling, orientation and meaningfulness to for the visitor.
More specific technical aspects, like search suggestion, were also analysed in order to scrum the non-meaningful/coherent ones and focus the team effort into valuable solutions to well framed issues.
The design system
Only after each technical and meta-structural aspect was defined, as well as the information architecture plan was clear, we started the development of the interface.
As we were dealing with a public institution, I suggested to took advantage of the good work of Designer’s Italia, who designed a complete design system for italian public institutions’ websites.
I designed some new custom elements specifically for this institution needs, then I printed everything on cardboard, giving shape to a tool which allowed the non-technical figures involved to have a sort of puzzle to visualise the actual outcomes of each page they had to replicate, supporting them into defining standards and preserve the quality work which was done on information and system architecture.
I apologize for the limited amour of material. Additional information aren’t open for sharing.