Media release

ORC launches new, mobile-friendly website

Tuesday 9 July 2024

From this week, the Otago Regional Council is launching a new and improved website that will benefit the thousands of customers, ratepayers and bus passengers needing to engage with the council.

ORC General Manager Strategy and Customer Amanda Vercoe says the new website is a vast improvement on the previous 2017 version and is more user friendly. It reflects significant advances in navigational capability, how people like to access their information, for example on mobile phones, and user preferences for certain topics on the website.  

“This has been the culmination of much hard work over the past year and I’m incredibly proud of this team effort, on behalf of the staff at ORC, Aukaha and Kāi Tahu, and Effect, digital web development partner, and we are especially proud of the partnership aspect of this project with the use of contemporary Māori designs,” she says.    

“The end result is an Otago-centric new, mobile-friendly design where people can easily access the activities of the council, that includes a dedicated ‘at your fingertips’ Orbus section for those wanting to use public transport and find timetables.” 

“Wherever people are, the website is a critical tool to both inform people about our work and help people get important tasks done. Our annual community survey tells us that our community’s preferred channel to access information from ORC is online.”
— ORC General Manager Strategy and Customer Amanda Vercoe

The Council worked with local iwi Kāi Tahu and mana whenua-owned consultancy Aukaha to incorporate Kāi Tahu values, narratives and reo Māori into the design of the new website. These designs represent different areas of council’s work and reflect ORC’s partnership with mana whenua and are explained on the website.  

The reo that is used on our website has been provided by Kāi Tahu reo experts.   

“By incorporating te reo Māori, the Otago Regional Council is contributing to fostering relationships between mana whenua, Māori, and all New Zealanders,” says Mrs Vercoe.  

Among the many customer-friendly features, the new website has: 

  • Easier access to a range of ORC services such as report pollution, apply for consents or grants, or pay rates, through a new ‘do it online’ section. 

  • A new A-Z index as a “go to” for site visitors. 

  • Orbus-branded public transport pages that look and feel like an app; for example, bus users can save the Orbus homepage on their mobile for easy access to bus information. 

  • Te reo Māori woven into the top two tiers people use to navigate on the website, and contemporary Māori designs created especially to reflect the importance of our land, water and kaitiakitaka to mana whenua. 

  • A new ‘get involved’ section to promote community involvement in the work of the council and its districts, including environmental projects, upcoming events and council meetings, as well as public consultations and online surveys. 

  • Greater flexibility and efficiency for the website operators to more easily adjust to constant changing needs of the Council and the demand for frequent updates.

“As part of this design we reviewed hundreds of pages of web content to ensure the current information is relevant and up to date. This constant refreshing will carry on into the future, to ensure people access the best quality information easily, and fast.” 

The new website has been driven by analytics showing most-frequently searched topics, mobile needs of people, user feedback, both internally and with the public, and functionality has been well tested. 

“For example, more than 70% of our customers now access their information via mobile devices such as phones and tablets. A lot of work in the design has gone into ensuring all information can be clearly presented through these devices, and also testing that our designs are robust,” says Mrs Vercoe.