How I led the transformation of SA Water’s digital presence

  • Business case development & business lead
  • Website audit and customer analytics
  • User experience (UX) strategy, research and testing
  • User requirements documentation
  • Customer Personas
  • Content strategy, development, testing and workflows
  • Change management and training

Timing: 2012 – 2015

The Challenge

Infographic displaying statistics about the old website
Before: a summary of what we were dealing with

I took on responsibility for SA Water’s website ( when I became SA Water’s Communications Manager in 2010. In early discussions with my new team it became quickly apparent that the website was a huge frustration for both the business and customers. At the time, the website had received no significant update in a decade, the CMS was no longer supported and was difficult for staff to use. The site was home to more than 380 pages of content and well over 1000 PDF files. Analytics revealed that the majority of these were not being used by customers or regularly updated by staff. In addition, the website did not meet basic accessibility requirements and was not mobile-responsive.

Start with needs – slide from a presentation

My role and approach

I developed a business case to present to the leadership team and Minister to release funding for a website redevelopment project. As the business lead on this project I worked with an IT project manager to run a competitive procurement process to contract external suppliers to work with my team on the project and to identify a preferred Content Management System (CMS). I then acted as the strategic business lead, working with external suppliers, the project team and the the rest of the business to deliver the new website strategy, information architecture, content and training for internal users. I also designed the new content strategy and management workflows and assisted in helping embed these through training across the business. Design artefacts I produced included user personas, requirements, user stories and user testing guides.

I oversaw UX design, working with external suppliers and my team, and developed a framework to include both internal and external users in the design and testing process. Users were invited to workshops early on to identify key problems with the current website and to prioritise new digital services. They were the brought back in to test as we iterated the new design.

Engagement metrics

Impact and value

This project fundamentally changed SA Water’s digital service offering by delivering a modern, accessible, responsive and customer-focussed website. Site impressions in the first 6 months after launch increased by 57% and the website facilitated customer migration to new digital services of between 30 – 35% (far exceeding our target of 20%).

From this (the old website)…
To this (new website – desktop view)

What I learnt

This was a huge project that could not have been done without the support of a much broader team of employees from across the business as well as external suppliers. I learnt the power of galvanising people around a significant change project by being clear on the benefits to them. This project was successful because it was driven by end users: SA Water’s customers and staff. We made time to listen and include their ideas at every step of the way and the process, and outcomes, became a powerful tool to shift the whole business to become more customer focussed.