As some of you know I’m currently a student assistant working at the California Department of Motor Vehicles. I work on their EGov team, which is the group that develops and deploys most of the DMV’s web applications. Over the past month I have been working on a fairly high profile project within the DMV, to apply a new look and feel to the DMV’s web site so that it conforms to the new California State template. We were only given 6 weeks to accomplish this so we had to prioritize what was to change and what was to remain the same.
The effort was spread accross two teams, our team which was responsible for modifying the web applications and our content team which was responsible for converting all of the static html pages. Over 8,000 static pages I should say! The content team had the bulk of the work, so they were only able to change the template and then make modifications so that the template worked across all pages. Our team had to modify our existing web apps which were developed in the J2EE environment, which means editing the JSP’s, Java Server Pages. We were able to actually rewrite our pages to conform more closely to w3 and Section 508 stnadards(Not completely but a few of our pages do actualy validate). We removed all unnecissary table layouts in favor of logical layouts and also implemented other usability features such as grouping like items in fieldsets and adding labels that linked to their respective fields. Basically that means the online forms should be a bit easier to use.
One thing that we weren’t allowed to do was modify the general layout and flow of the web applications since that is dictated to the EGov team through various business units. Yes, suprise suprise, there is a lot of politics in the inner workings of the state government, even down to the level of “I want this button there with this font size.” There was no time to readdress this issue with the various business units so we worked with what we had to accomplish the project. By all accounts I believe we were successfull and am quite proud to have been apart of such a high profile project. The three web applications that I worked on were:
The DMV was the first State website, besides http://ca.gov/ to have our web site completely converted over. All other departments are being urged to follow suit by our state CIO, Clark Kelso.Our new page was released on Janurary 25th, if I recall correctly, and we had a media campaign on Feburary 1st at the South Sacarmento Field Office. That was pretty fun, most of the developers that worked on the redesign were there, and a some of the local media was their. Including KFBK, Channel 31, and Channel 19 (Spanish station). There was also an artical in the Sacramento Bee the following day.