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Case study: Solar Victoria website

Speed to market a must for Solar Victoria's new website.

Built by a technical vendor using the Single Digital Presence toolkit, the new Solar Victoria website build took just 8 weeks, including design, content and development.

Background

Solar Victoria was established in August 2018 as a business unit of Sustainability Victoria, ahead of a scheduled move to the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) on 1 July 2019.

Solar Victoria delivers the Victorian Government’s Solar Homes Program - one of the most ambitious and transformative renewable energy programs in Australia. The program is a key initiative in the Victorian Government's commitment to reduce energy costs, boost energy supply, create new jobs in the renewables sector and tackle climate change.

There is significant demand from Victorian households and industry for information about available rebates, timelines for applications, and products. Solar Victoria needed to quickly stand up a replacement for their interim web presence. The new website had to be ready in time for their move to DELWP on 1 July. This date also coincided with many critical system go-lives, including the introduction of a new point of sale process for rebates.

Their requirements included:

  • Multi-level navigation
  • Ability to match their branding and colour palette
  • Capacity to manage demand peaks during application periods

Why Solar Victoria chose Single Digital Presence

When Solar Victoria first met with the Single Digital Presence (SDP) team in March 2019, they had already gone to market for a vendor but were required to pause to consider other options.

Whatever they chose had to move across to DELWP with them as well as launching before 1 July 2019. The pause enabled them to learn more about what the SDP toolkit offered and how they could make it work to meet their needs.

Built for government, by government, they found that SDP was flexible enough to meet their brand requirements. It also provided the basic functionalities they needed within a secure, accessible package that was able to meet peaks in demand. Building on SDP also meant that delivery could happen in their very tight, non-negotiable timeframe.

For all these reasons, plus seeing an opportunity to pilot SDP for Departmental agencies, Solar Victoria chose to build using the SDP toolkit.

Timelines

From that first meeting, things moved fast. On 8 April, the team received RFQ documentation to guide potential vendors on the use of the SDP toolkit. They appointed NOW Digital on 24 April and their SDP project was initiated 5 days later, with design and technical briefings not far behind.

Build automation in SDP allowed the environment to be ready for their digital agency to adjust the colours and patterns, then start adding content. 

The Solar Victoria team worked incredibly hard on getting their content right, overcoming a common government challenge of developing digital content for policy awaiting approval. As is often the case, writing content, selecting images and getting content approvals took the most time.

Results and next steps

The website launched on 27 June 2019 and has been very well received.

Solar Victoria have big plans for enhancing the content on their site, including:

  • Ongoing refinement of existing content
  • Educational content for people to learn what it means to have solar, care and maintenance
  • Stories of people who have taken up the rebate
  • Community housing partnership case studies.

Client feedback

As an early adopter of the SDP toolkit, Solar Victoria provided valuable feedback into future improvements in documentation and onboarding processes. This feedback will be included in a planned service design review of SDP in 2020.

The Ripple design system rated highly in post - delivery analysis, with a look and feel that is consistent with Victorian government branding while standing out as a unique entity.

Reflecting on the project, all parties also appreciated the good communication and collaboration between teams.

Conclusion

Delivering the Solar Victoria web presence using the SDP toolkit shows how much can be achieved even when delivery timelines are tight. It is also a strong example of how the Ripple design system provides easy to use components that are flexible enough to meet a wide variety of needs.

Reviewed 19 June 2020

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