MAHA SAMRUDDHI MARG

How a nimble and small creative team waded through organizational hierarchies to spruce up the website for a mega government project!

Overview

We are sharing a comprehensive analysis of our journey of redesigning the website for the Maharashtra State Government's futuristic passion project, the Hindu Hrudaysamrat Balasaheb Thackeray Maharashtra Samruddhi Mahamarg. This was supposed to be a vital expressway that connected the cities of Nagpur and Mumbai. This expressway was going to slash down the travel time between these cities by half. (Talk about transforming the way we travel!) The local aftermath of this project was to push immense development in the remote regions that this expressway was going to bring onto the national map. And needless to say, we were all fired up to get this ship sailing!

Deliverables
Launch Date

Client and Story

The Mahasamruddhi Mahamarg Expressway was a visionary project for the Maharashtra Government. The expressway was projected to be 701 km long. It was also supposed to connect 393 remote villages to the major cities. The vision here was to give momentum to infrastructural development and advance the economic welfare of the families residing in the area. The state government was already hosting a website for this project, and our job was to revamp it and subsequently garner investor traction.

Our entire team had identified the positive impact of this expressway, and we all wanted to translate this vision into a digital medium seamlessly!

ANALYSIS

Challenges

1

Manoeuvring through the tedious bureaucratic red tape.

Yup, we said it! This is not a technical or a design-related challenge, but we can assure you that we’d take those over dealing with the public sector’s never-ending mail-trails! Our client here was a governmental organization that comprised multiple hierarchies of decision-makers. And as a result, obtaining unanimous and swift approval was tricky for us. (Very, very tricky!)

2

Website maintenance was a problem area.

The initial website was hosted in Drupal. And because of limited resources, editing and maintenance was complicated and a challenge for the client.

3

The website had to be NIC (National Informatics Centre) Compliant.

All government websites must be hosted on the NIC server, and this one was no exception.

4

Owing to continuous traffic, we couldn't afford any website downtime throughout its development or even when we shifted it.

This was a significant public sector project and was attracting substantial traffic. So, needless to say, the stakes were too high, and we had to ensure that there wasn't any downtime while we were working on the live website or while we were shifting it.

To attract FDIs (Foreign Direct Investments) for the project.

A vital goal for the client was to create a website that provided information about the project seamlessly and, in the process, attracted investors and HNIs (High Networth Individuals).

Ensuring longevity and hassle-free maintenance.

Another focus area for our team was to deliver a website that would be relevant and operational for the long-term, both aesthetically and technically. And it went without saying that website maintenance shouldn’t be a hassle like it used to be.

To develop a bilingual website.

We identified that this website was relevant for two core groups, one being the investors and the other was the public who would eventually benefit from this project. And to personalize this website for both these target groups, we had early on reached the consensus of making this website bilingual, with content published in English and Marathi.

User Research

We had figured out two user group for the website. One was the locals who would use the expressway, and the other was investors. Attracting Foreign and local investors, along with High Networth Individuals (HNIs), was a major reason, why we were appointed to redesign the website. And consequently, our designers began exhaustive R&D Sessions on the aesthetic inclinations of this target audience. We identified that the visual inclinations of the west were minimalistic, and this became a design linchpin for us.

Pain Points Identified by us

The initial website was text-heavy and appeared to be excessively cramped. It was also not properly categorised and had a difficult user journey.
Apart from the text, the colour scheme of the earlier website was off-putting.
The information about the project was not displayed systematically and was unable to hold the reader’s attention.

Roles & Responsibilities

Our designing and product engineering team was tasked with developing the entire digital model for The Live Nagpur project. The client’s limited understanding in this field made it crucial that we ideated, designed and implemented the entire digital spectrum of this project. We also took up on the task to gradually limit the client’s dependence on us to run this operation.

IMPLEMENTATION

UX Design

The one concept driving the UX design of the project was to be able to provide all the information about this project and be still able to make the website look minimalistic and readable. And with this motivation, our UX designers hit the design board to plan out distinct content pillars, their placement and map out distinct user journeys. We started by creating a robust mind map to visualize the website experience.

Next, we went on to sketching and more clearly working out multiple end users’ distinct journey mapping.

Once we had the team’s consensus and clients’ unanimous approval on the design flow through our sketches, we went on to develop and validate our website’s prototype models.

After having tested and validated the prototypes our UX team set out to develop wireframes for the website. These wireframes ensure that the website was easily navigable, provided comprehensive information about the project without appearing text-heavy, and most importantly was not overwhelming the readers with excessive information. Our motive was to be able to segregate and structure information while making it easy to locate.

UI Design

The one concept driving the UX design of the project was to be able to provide all the information about this project and be still able to make the website look minimalistic and readable. And with this motivation, our UX designers hit the design board to plan out distinct content pillars, their placement and map out distinct user journeys. We started by creating a robust mind map to visualize the website experience.

Usability

The journey through the website should be simple, logical, and convenient.

Utility

The website should add value to the visitors and cater to the purpose of their visit.

Accessibility

The website should be easy to use for users of all levels of tech literacy.

Desirability

And it went without saying that the aesthetics of the website should consume readers and create for them a positive experience.

And next, we broadened on these four cornerstones to make the website more usable and visually appealing.
The idea was to communicate the scope of this visionary project and to do so in a minimalistic way. We also decided on including key pieces of content such as the project’s progress, status, and data about the contractors undertaking it. These content pieces were aimed to make the project transparent and credible, both for the investors and the local public.

This judicious attention to content placement and look, were aimed to stimulate investors into backing this expressway.

Standout Achievement

We culminated our UX and UI designing stage to develop a website that was rich in utility and accessibility.
The significant improvement from the previous website was an immense achievement for us.

To be blunt, the old and the new website didn’t look much different from those before and after transformational Instagram posts of an interior designer. Don’t believe us? See for yourself!

As you can see, the final website is cleaner, visually absorbing, and has a streamlined placement of content and key information.

Development

The initial website was developed in Drupal. And the client were finding it difficult to find developers who could assist them with it. As a result, website maintenance and editing were proving to be cumbersome tasks. Our team handling the project was also small and Drupal would have strained them as well. We addressed all these pain points by deciding to shift the website to WordPress. WordPress being an open source, had a lot of tutorials and guidance available easily. Some of the development related upper-hand that a WordPress website rendered, were as follows:

The platform was conducive to both scalability and longevity.

Maintaining a WordPress website was an easier option as compared to Drupal.

WordPress also helped us in traffic load managing.

Standout Achievement

The fact that we were able to develop this website in a strict time frame was a standout achievement for us.

Completing tasks within pre-decided deadlines has always been our thing, but the fact that we were able to achieve all this while dealing with a public sector organization that had multiple hierarchies and excessive paperwork and legalities, felt amazing. This territory was alien to a small and agile creative team like ours, and we were elated for having conquered this challenge along with the other design and development related ones.

FINAL OUTCOME

The final challenge for us was to facilitate the data import and publishing of the new website without any downtime. But our team had identified this challenge in the early phase of listing out our challenges, and we were well prepared for it. And consequently, our final victory was hands down a glitch-free data transport.

In conclusion, we had successfully developed a bilingual website that loaded quickly, was aesthetically engaging and refreshingly minimalistic.

Testimonial

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