New was built entirely remotely and is now live

Published: 22.9.2021
Categories: Technology
Reading time: 2 min website on mobile and laptop screen.

At the beginning of September, the City of Espoo launched its new website. The site was designed and developed completely using remote connections, and the website renewal was wrapped up on schedule. Now the new accessibly serves Espoo’s every citizen and stakeholder.

After running a successful beta stage, the City of Espoo’s renewed website, Espoo.fiopens in a new tab, was officially launched in September. Espoo is Finland’s second-biggest city, which website now serves its citizens and stakeholders at AA-level accessible. The close collaboration between the City of Espoo and Wunder began in late Spring 2020 when designing and building the new kickstarted. The result is a user-friendly, modern, and stylish website, and from where any information can be found quickly – thanks to the straightforward search function.

The users of the old website and active citizens of Espoo were included in designing and concepting the new Important information for the renewal was gathered from their feedback and wishes. Before launching the new site, a beta version was used for several months to test the new concept. The development ideas that the users gave on shaped the new site to its present form, which continues to be polished to become even better.

One of the main development areas was to build a robust search functionality to make the information easy to find. As a result, the search function has nearly superseded the traditional navigation system, which only has a minor role in the new Now, with the search function, the citizens can easily find information about the city’s services and the city planning projects and decisions related to their area.

The national recommendation for remote working brought extra spice to the project, as the renewal was made completely remotely with online tools. Project manager Sarianna Visuri from the City of Espoo says about the circumstances in a news article on Espoo.fiopens in a new tab (translated from Finnish):

“At the end of the project, we pondered how the website would have turned out if we had built it together while working at the office? We concluded that the website would not probably have gotten any better, but some of the matters would have been more efficient to communicate at a conference room while being able to use body language and illustrate the thoughts.”

“The project has proceeded in time, in the budget, and in good spirit.”

The new is a decoupled solution using Drupal 9 as the backend system, and the frontend was built with React. The technology behind the search function is Elasticsearch. Wunder manages the website hosting with its own and green Silta hosting service. In addition to developers and designers, Wunder’s project team also includes an accessibility specialist who ensures that the accessibility is taken into account throughout the development. The collaboration continues with continuous development, where the common goal is to develop the website in a customer-oriented way.

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