Aquarion Water Company is a water utility serving customers in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire.
Their outdated website could no longer properly support their customer’s needs. Three different subdirectories served each state, resulting in an overly complex sitemap. This prevented customers from easily finding information, seeing alerts, or submitting forms and payment. A lack of responsive design made it difficult to access the site from a tablet or mobile phone.
In addition, the lack of a content management system (CMS) created communication roadblocks. Because all pages were static, content and form changes could only be made by IT, lengthening processing time.
Chateaux was selected to overhaul Aquarion’s existing web infrastructure and provide ongoing support.
Chateaux conducted extensive research to develop a design that would best suit the needs of the client and its customers. Sitefinity was selected as the CMS of choice, allowing for a clean UI that could be easily managed by content editors and developers alike. In addition, the new CMS would also provide customized templates for pages and forms and robust feature modules, ensuring both aesthetic and data collection continuity. To provide greater security and more reliable uptime, the site would be migrated to and hosted in the Microsoft Azure cloud environment.
The three different subdirectories were consolidated to one singular site that serves all states. This streamlined the navigation for easier use and also makes the site easier to scale if new territories are added.
The new site was created with flat design that includes a modern look and feel with enhanced images that render well across all devices. A higher contrast color scheme, increased font sizes, and more white space improve readability. Improved call-to-action buttons and a reorganized mega menu improves user flow.
Backend management was streamlined enabling the communications team to manage content and forms without code. Teams can now use pre-styled page templates, drag-and-drop widgets, and easy to use editing tools.
Modules were also put in place to assist with content management. For example, FAQs were previously hard-coded and dispersed, so any changes needed to be made individually rather than globally. This caused instances of conflicting information for customers and a laborious update process for business users. A module was implemented to house all the FAQs on the website, providing a one-stop source for questions that could be tagged using taxonomy.
A complex document library system was also created so that published information such as important water quality reports can be found more easily. Open graph integration for social media takes it a step further, empowering communication and marketing teams beyond the website.
Outages & Alerts Modules
Previously, users could only search outages and alerts by city or state. In larger jurisdictions, this made pinpointing issues challenging. To mitigate this issue, a custom outages and alerts module was built with Kendo UI controls that enables users to search by zip code. Now customers can search and gain information with greater geographic specificity. This module also simplified administration of the alerts for the company.
The site used forms to gather customer data and requests. The existing forms had been built using ASP code, requiring intervention by IT to create new ones or make changes. This process often took months to complete. Chateaux moved forms entirely to Sitefinity. This allows the communication team to create and modify forms without coding knowledge using drag-and-drop builders. This reduces processing time from months to hours or even minutes and cuts down on IT help requests.
The form enhancements also include the ability to create conditional rules and triggers to dynamically show and hide form fields. In addition, editable email notifications can be sent directly to distribution groups where customer service reps can address customers more quickly.
The existing website included general information as well as details unique to CT, MA, and NH customers. Chateaux led a multiphase revision process in collaboration with the client to streamline, organize, and strengthen messaging for all Aquarion customers. This collaboration ensured content was both optimized and factually accurate.
The audit process identified areas of duplicate and outdated content, streamlining and consolidating page count by 65%. A language style guide was also created to improve continuity. Along with refined URL mapping, this process optimized content for better search results and a more satisfying browsing experience. SEO was also improved with a robust 301 redirect plan, restructured URL naming conventions, refined heading titles (or H tags), and other best practices.
A clean, modern layout paired with a refined sitemap provides a superior user experience overall. By consolidating duplicate information and removing outdated content, a leaner yet more powerful site emerged. Business users can now quickly and easily manage content and provide information to customers in a timely manner.
The site was recognized by Progress Sitefinity for its outstanding user experience and innovation, winning it the Progress Sitefinity 2020 Website of the Year Award in the Public Sector category.
Chateaux will support and maintain the Aquarion website as well as manage the hosting environment.