The Northern Ireland Assembly is responsible for making laws on transferred matters in Northern Ireland and for scrutinising the work of Ministers and Government Departments.
The Northern Ireland Assembly approached us to help them update to the latest version of Episerver which would provide them with a host of new editing tools allowing for easier content creation and re-use. With over 30,000 pages the challenge was to migrate all of the previous site’s valuable content and assets while keeping the existing structure in place.
Finally, while they wanted to keep the existing look and feel of the website, they wanted to address some aspects of user feedback and implement a responsive design.
Our team collaborated closely with NIA key stakeholders to consider how to re-work the templates to make them both responsive and address the usability issues raised by user feedback. With a large number of pages and five levels of navigation depth to consider, we thought carefully about how content would re-flow on smaller devices to find the best way to approach the mobile navigation and search options.
To replace the NIA's old Google Mini search server, we integrated Microsoft Azure's Search service. Search results on the website are gathered and displayed using Ajax to ensure that users on mobile networks receive results promptly. As a result, it has also helped the NIA reduce a number of maintenance overheads and ongoing costs.
The final task was to migrate the content from the previous website. The content took three forms: page content, Episerver Composer block content, and assets. We created a bespoke application that read an Episerver export file containing the current site's pages, composer block and assets and used this information to create counterparts in the new site. The application was run before launching the new site and migrated ~30,000 pages in just a few hours.
The new website has received wide praise from end users for its ability to deliver an easy to use and consistent experience across mobile, tablet and desktop. The NIA's content editors see the new templates and functionality implemented in Episerver as a significant step forward.
We continue to provide ongoing support to both IT and content editors throughout the Assembly.