I directed the content, design and launch of Waterwise’s website, working with Waterwise teammates and an outside web design and development agency in Dubai.
The website focuses especially on providing useful information to residents, showing them how they can reduce their water consumption at home, and on highlighting Waterwise’s research, pilot projects and public initiatives.
View the whole website at www.waterwise.gov.ae >>
Responsibilities & Accomplishments
Over the course of this project, I:
- Directed information architecture, design and details from the client’s side
- Researched, wrote and managed content in English; managed Arabic translation and content population
- Managed the production of five educational videos with two video production companies, in English and Arabic, from concepts to script writing and creative direction as needed
- Provided content and creative direction for Waterwise’s interactive, educational game used at public events and adapted for the website
- Managed content after launch, especially press releases, newsletters, photos and events in the Media Centre
Everything we did for Waterwise benefitted Powerwise as well. As sister initiatives, we worked together to design the templates, general structure, style and tone of voice to be the same for both.
Top 3 lessons learned
1. The website has received very good reactions by those who have seen it—it looks good, has useful, comprehensive information, and they like it a lot. However, we did not perform any user testing or improvements to usability, content or search engine optimization, and we did not move on to promote it much after launch. I think this is due to limited resources, higher priorities and a mandate to shift our strategy away from engaging directly with residents in favor of supporting the utility companies as they do so instead. Fatigue from a longer-than-usual process may also have contributed.
2. It took much longer than expected to complete, due to delays on both sides—we were slow to draft and define content while we focused on structure and design first, and the agency was up and down with quality, with especially poor quality control and stubborn reluctance to present multiple creative options in the early stages. I think a lot stalled progress could have been remedied if we could have interacted directly with their designers in planning, meetings and feedback sessions, but the agency didn’t allow it and most were in India, not Dubai.
3. The content management system still requires its own expertise, not especially easy for any team member to operate. This has caused real reluctance to update the website at all. We tried to plan for this from the beginning, researching open-source CMS options and ultimately choosing the agency’s proprietary CMS, which they convinced us was the most user-friendly and best for English and Arabic content. I still can’t say if any CMS would be ideal for staff who don’t enjoy learning and managing websites, but I have seen clear difficulties in this case and will continue to emphasize the importance of addressing this issue in the future.
Please also see my full work description for Powerwise & Waterwise >>