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Major Projects: A modernised user interface

The Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE) invited us to develop their new Major Projects Drupal site. This was designed to sit within the existing NSW Planning Portal and deal specifically with significant developments in the state. Together, we turned a site with low user engagement, poor user experience and user interface, into a modernised platform that delivers quality in customer experience. DPIE is now able to ensure that services are more accessible and available to the general public. 


The Department of Planning, Industry and Environment


The Department of Planning and Environment Planning Portal homepage with pull outs of features


The DPIE website initially posed a number of issues. These were primarily in terms of user experience and engagement. As a result the site wasn’t fulfilling its purpose. With much of the information buried, users struggled to find what they needed.

About the Client

The Department of Planning, Industry and Environment is a NSW government department with teams across the state working on long-term planning, planning assessments, infrastructure priorities, natural resources, the environment, energy and growing the state’s industries. 

The DPIE Major Projects Portal Homepage


Project Handover

Whilst a separate agency worked with DPIE in the early discovery phase, we were engaged to carry forward the full project. Despite joining the project after it had commenced, we were able to assure a smooth handover that did not disrupt target timelines. 

Design and User Experience

During the handover we reviewed existing design assets, using them to identify components and select information architecture requirements.

The main objective was an overhaul of both the design and user experience, in order to improve user engagement. 

With the general public as the main users of the site, information architecture and user flows were optimised to improve their experience. As a result, project details and information like consultation dates or modifications are now much easier to find and read.

Following this initial stage, we then defined features for the product backlog and began design sprints.

Department of Planning and Environment Planning Portal Search feature and example of results


During the development phase, we addressed the map, turning this into a great, usable feature. To achieve this we looked at both the map’s appearance and its functionality, providing clarity for users. How users discover the map was also simplified. On arrival at the map, they now see further options for drilling down by location, as well as the option to apply additional filters.

Work on the new DPIE Drupal 8 site also coincided with the introduction of the Pega Government platform. This was a completely new, internal CRM system that the new site would need to integrate with and which required the creation of multiple dependencies.

Despite this added layer of complexity, we were able to meet our delivery deadline.

Department of Planning and Environment  planning portal website landing pages

The Results

We began work on the Major Projects site in October 2018, successfully launching within the expected timeframe, in February 2019. During this time, we managed multiple stakeholders and worked collaboratively with the DPIE team.

The result was a site designed to deal specifically and clearly with developments that have been classified as State Significant Development (SSD) or State Significant Infrastructure (SSI) under the Environmental and Planning Assessment Act 1979.

Ultimately, we delivered a website with a completely modernised infrastructure, that offers a user-friendly design and an experience that is more intuitive.