Climate Change (Ministry for the Environment)

Size: 7 Dreamweaver templates for a 60-page website

Government status: Government Ministry

My professional status: independent web designer/developer

Website client: Ministry for the Environment

Dates: May - June 2010, with ongoing support after delivery

Categories: Scoping/pitching/quoting, Client liaison, Project manager, Front-end developer, Govt web standards tester, CSS-based layout, jQuery/JavaScript, Dreamweaver templates, Government websites, Medium sites

Brief: the Ministry for the Environment's Climate Change website, originally designed as a portal site, was becoming difficult to navigate, and was lacking styles for pages with more detailed content at multiple levels. With the introduction of the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) in June 2010, the Ministry needed to expand the capabilities of the website, while still retaining the existing header and footer and some of the original HTML structure.

The HTML would be based on the existing Dreamweaver templates within a new design. A range of new elements including multi-level sub-navigation and a collection of highlight boxes was to be incorporated, as well as a completely new homepage and ETS section homepage. The HTML/CSS needed to be best-practice e-government compliant, achieving WCAG 2.0 AA standard.

Thanks Ali! Wow - looks great! I believe that all went really well – awesome. Thanks for reading my mind on a lot of it...

...thanks for a tremendous effort and making all of extremely tight deadlines! I enjoyed working with you. You made it so easy for me with the DW templates, etc. Perfect.

Christian Evans, Web Adviser, Corporate & Community, Ministry for the Environment

My responsibilities included:

  • Project management and ongoing liaison with the MfE team in order to achieve all their aims for the site, and to work through a range of technical and implementation issues with them
  • Project management of the WebWeaver team (myself and designer Sue Quigley) including the development of timelines within a programme of work and ensuring that we achieved all our project milestones in a timely fashion
  • Development of a set of 7 Dreamweaver templates in pure CSS and HTML 4.01 Strict
  • Hand-coding in HTML 4.01 Strict to an extremely high level of accessibility, and following NZ e-government Guidelines (WCAG 2.0)
  • Incorporating a range of dynamic graphical effects which I wrote using the jQuery JavaScript library
  • Creating styles and functionality that would allow the jQuery to provide progressive enhancement while still allowing complete accessibility for those users with JavaScript disabled
  • Extensive testing of the site at all stages of the development process, ensuring complete consistency across the following browsers and platforms - Yahoo! Graded Browser Support Update: Q1 2010:
    • PC (WindowsXP): Internet Explorer IE8, IE7, IE6; Firefox 3.6, Firefox 3.0, Chrome 4
    • PC (Windows7): Internet Explorer IE8; Firefox 3.6
    • Mac (OS X 10.5): Safari 4
    • Mac (OS X 10.6): Firefox 3.6, Safari 4
  • The creation of a print stylesheet, and testing this in IE6, IE8, and Firefox
  • Ensuring that every template had been validated using the W3C Markup Validation Service and that it conformed to HTML 4.01 Strict requirements
  • Ongoing support for the MfE web team, to ensure that the new templates could easily be integrated onto their server, and to provide additional HTML and styles as required.

This was a two-person job - I did the ongoing project management, timeline and client liaison, Sue Quigley created the new design including a set of ETS icons, and then I did the HTML and CSS, testing, delivery and ongoing support.

Sue and I were very happy to be working with the Ministry again. They're a great team to work with. The timeline was very tight, so we put together a schedule where I would start some of the front-end development while Sue was still working on the design of the last template. This worked out well, and our new Dreamweaver templates functioned perfectly when they were integrated into the existing site to replace the old templates.

We tested our templates for e-govt compliance using tools including Firebug, the Firefox Web Developer toolbar, Wave, Ask Cynthia and the Juicy Studio Luminosity Colour Contrast Ratio Analyser, with reference to the NZ e-govt guidelines and WCAG 2.0 online documentation.

Hi Christian, Sue and Alison
What a smooth project this has been - great for everyone and thanks for all your hard work!

Dee Guja, Senior Adviser Publishing, Communication Channels, Ministry for the Environment

Other websites for the Ministry for the Environment