Connecting with the public in a media saturated environment, demands an innovative strategy combined with the clearest delivery. The Department of An Taoiseach (the Irish Prime Minister’s Office) commissioned Arekibo to create an online service that would allow the department to publicise a wide range of government activities. The site would contain reports on key events, highlight topical content and would be the central repository of all government press releases.
The creation of its own news delivery medium would enable the Office to release greater levels of news and updates to the public and media alike in real-time. This would open up a unique communication channel that had not existed in Ireland before. This new service would be called MerrionStreet.ie.
Creating the blueprint
Drawing inspiration from the success of United Kingdom’s Number10 and the United States’ The White House and other government online news services, Arekibo worked with the Department of Taoiseach team to create a blueprint for the project.
Working in partnership, the project team created the site’s information architecture (IA), which detailed how information would be structured and ultimately managed by the staff in Government Buildings. This IA process focused on how to structure content on thematic areas, enabling readers to quickly access related content and navigate through the business of government in an intuitive manner.
Once the blueprint had been developed, Arekibo’s design and user experience team began to work with the Department on the creation of the online identity. As this was a green fields project, the name, brand and visual appearance had to be developed. The team worked through a design process that ultimately delivered a name and visual online identity for the news service.
With the brand created, Arekibo’s team developed the new site upon the WordPress content management system, an industry standard open source system that allowed the development team to create the information service to specifications.
Making the government socially networked
The site was launched in July 2010 and is providing the general public with a real-time insight into the workings of government in Ireland.
Find out what the Taoiseach has been up to this week at MerrionStreet.ie.
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