OFM has a new website, thanks to WaTech's Web Services team

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A “sharp and modern” looking new web site for the Office of Financial Management with several new features is the result of months of work by WaTech’s web team in collaboration with the agency.

Launched in late October, the site, used primarily by state workers, features greater ease of use with mobile devices, is more accessible for persons with disabilities and is easier on the eye.

“We love the new site. It looks sharp and modern, will be easier to manage and will significantly improve our ability to provide important information to our customers,” wrote Ralph Thomas, communications director for OFM, in an email to the team following the site’s launch. “I know what a major undertaking this project was. And, I have to say, I’ve been really impressed at how smoothly the launch has gone.”

A team of seven from WaTech worked closely with Hayden Mackley, OFM’s web manager, throughout the project. The team had been supporting OFM web properties since 2011, helping the agency manage the 15 websites that fall under its purview and assessing work priorities on each of those sites.

The WaTech Web Services Team. From left are Wendy Wickstrom, Josh Lightfoot, Julie Cunningham, Dina Darrin and Paul Erickson (not pictured is Jean Moon). 
We’ve been discussing the OFM redesign since the beginning of this year, but the project officially kicked off in May,” said Wendy Wickstrom, WaTech’s web and user experience manager who oversaw the team effort for WaTech. Wickstrom was joined by web developers Dina Darrin, Dan Heisel and Paul Erickson. Julie Cunningham served as the web project manager. Josh Lightfoot and Jean Moon teamed up on usability work to ensure the site meets the needs of OFM customers and they can easily find what they are looking for within the site. 

The OFM site contains a wide variety of important information that state agencies rely on daily to manage their business from budget information, to the Statewide Accounting and Fund Reference Manuals, to state HR information.  The site pulls and presents data from a number of external systems, such as job class and salary information, rules from the state Legislature’s website, and the Fund Reference Manual generated from multiple financial systems.

Wickstrom said the site had not been refreshed since 2010 and was still using static HTML pages. The team set as goals to modernize its look, feel and functionality, convert the site to the Drupal-based content management system and make it easier for OFM to maintain.

“We also had the goal of merging three sites into one comprehensive site. Those sites included the state’s human resources web site, hr.ofm.wa.gov, the site for the OneWashington program (one.wa.gov) and the OFM website itself."

Heisel, Darrin and Erickson did the Drupal work and handled content migration from the old sites. WaTech’s user experience team of Lightfoot and Moon conducted multiple usability activities using card sort and online tree testing activities to recommend a new content architecture. They also did prototype testing to ensure a positive user experience, and recommended improvements for accessibility and usability based on their findings. Wickstrom and Cunningham co-managed the project.

Wickstrom said the team had a “strong ongoing partnership with OFM,” meeting weekly with Mackley at OFM, who in turn directed internal efforts to inventory content and delete outdated information so it would not be migrated to the new site.

The agency introduced the site to its customers with this announcement.

WaTech’s Web Services team continues to draw praise from other quarters as well, most recently from Teresa Berntsen, director of the Office of Minority and Women’s Business Enterprises.

“The Web Services team launched yet another amazing website for our customers and the customers were, yet again, ecstatic,” said Michael DeAngelo, deputy director for the agency’s Business and Digital Media Services division . “We now operate over 50 websites for agencies and the pipeline keeps growing. We have also increased the number of mobile responsive websites in state government by 10 times.”

Office of Financial Management Home Page
Office of Financial Management's new home page

DeAngelo described the OMWBE web site as another team effort with Heisel and Darrin leading the way.

“Wendy, the web site looks fabulous! Thank you so very much for all your help.  It’s fresh, clean and easy to navigate.  We’ve already received a ton of compliments. I appreciate your work!” OMWBE Director Berntsen wrote in an email to the team.

Website design, maintenance and testing are some of the many services offered by WaTech related to the web. You can see a full list, as well as a portfolio and contact information on our Website services page.