Independent Investigations Office

  • Web
  • Public Sector

FreshWorks redesigned IIO's website to improve usability and allow users to more easily access information.

Project Summary

FreshWorks redesigned the IIO website to improve the user experience and accessibility of the site with careful consideration to the vision, mission and values of the IIO. 

The Independent Investigations Office of British Columbia (IIO) is a civilian-led police oversight agency responsible for conducting investigations into incidents of death or serious harm that may have been the result of the actions of a police officer, whether on or off duty. 

We redesigned the IIO website so that users can easily access information on current and past cases. Website visitors can sort cases by area, incident classification, agencies involved, and incident year. Additionally, the custom-built workflows help IIO staff reduce time spent on publishing or modifying online content significantly.

The Challenge

By the time FreshWorks started redesigning the IIO website, the existing design was outdated and no longer aligned with the IIO brand. Furthermore, website visitors could not easily navigate to desired content due to the lack of advanced search tools. 

On the backend, adding new content to the previous website was very labour intensive for IIO staff. Each piece of content (cases, media releases, etc.) needed to be uploaded in multiple places and manually linked to each other.

The Solution

The solution is a modern website that allows website visitors to access desired information easily while enabling IIO staff to efficiently upload and modify website content.

Due to the sensitive nature of IIO’s business, the whole FreshWorks team was required to get a criminal record check prior to project start. 

With the Independent Investigations office is located in Surrey and the FreshWorks team working from the Victoria office communication was mainly done through video calls and a few on-site visits.

During the discovery phase, FreshWorks conducted user research through focus groups with IIO staff and frequent website visitors. The feedback received during the focus groups was then used to develop user stories and to determine the main objectives for the project. 

The goal for the frontend website was to enable users to easily navigate to and search for the desired content. The goal for the backend was to enable IIO staff to easily add new content in one place and have workflows take care of adding it to any additional spots.

IIO shared some website layouts with the team that guided the project designer in determining the final designs for the new website. Since the previous website was hosted on WordPress and IIO staff was used to using the system, our designer suggested multiple WordPress themes. Upon decision for a theme, our designer went ahead to apply the IIO theme all the way across the new website template.

Wireframes vs. Actual Homepage

Once designs were approved, the development process started. Some of the content found on the IIO website was hosted on static pages, allowing our developers to take advantage of the existing WordPress template, significantly reducing development time. For the custom pages, such as the cases page or media releases, our developers configured the backend so that each piece of content is considered a custom post (ie. media releases, FAQs, cases).

Being able to use some of the existing templates for the static content pages, saved a lot of development time and allowed us for a quick turnaround on this project.

Etienne Stemmet

Full Stack Developer

When IIO staff adds new content, depending on the post type, different custom fields are shown in the backend. For example: Adding a new case requires the IIO staff member to also identify the case number, incident date, and classification. 

A benefit of these very customized fields allows the website visitor to easily filter and find all content related to a desired case.

To read more about the technical aspects of this project, check out this article by Etienne.

Overall, the new Independent Investigations Office of BC website allows visitors to easily navigate to the desired documents, while decreasing the labour required by IIO staff when creating new or updating existing content.

The Results

The project was kicked off in October 2018, and the website went live at the beginning of April 2019. Since the launch of the new website, the Independent Investigations Office of BC has received a lot of positive feedback from internal and external users. Additionally, IIO staff has been able to add and modify content across the website more efficiently than ever before, leading to significant time savings. 

The Features

Improved User Experience 

The conducted user research was essential in improving the user experience of the new IIO website. Additional measures were taken to improve overall usability of the website, including categorization of content and sorting the frequently asked questions by stakeholders. Furthermore, the website is now responsive and is easily usable from any device.

Contact Form

Previously, all IIO’s staff emails were listed on the website’s contact page, leading to user confusion about who to contact for what information. The new contact form now allows website visitors to select a reason for inquiry from a dropdown and workflows run in the background that automatically forward the inquiry to the right person.

Automatic Content Mapping

All content related to one particular case (case report, media releases, etc.) are automatically connected based on the case number and can easily navigate between. For example, a media release that has a case number in the title is automatically associated with the case. If the case number does not exist within the system yet, a new case is automatically created.

Advanced Search

Through customization, IIO’s website is able to offer advanced search features that allow visitors to easily search for and navigate to their desired content. Users can filter content by pages, cases, media releases, public reports, FAQs, and publications to further narrow down search results for specific cases.

Advanced Search

Through customization, IIO’s website is able to offer advanced search features that allow visitors to easily search for and navigate to their desired content. Users can filter content by pages, cases, media releases, public reports, FAQs, and publications to further narrow down search results for specific cases.

Technologies Used

The brand new Independent Investigations Office’s website utilizes custom-designed modules and workflows within the WordPress CMS.

View the Website

What the Client is Saying:

5
Quality
5
Schedule
5
Cost
4

Reporters are happier, as the information is much easier to find, and users feel the site is a stronger resource.

"They worked hard to solve issues, and they were very good at finding the most appropriate options for us. The platform is much stronger than the old iteration, and users respond positively to the changes. FreshWorks Studio proactively finds solutions to problems and are quick to answer questions."

Nicola Collins

Media Relations Officer, IIO

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