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Waikato DHB A Sector Leader With New Website

Media Release

Date: 26 February 2014

Waikato DHB A Sector Leader With New Website

Waikato DHB a regional and sector leader in the adoption of innovative platforms with the launch of its new website

Click for big version.

The new Waikato District Health Board website on three different devices

First DHB in the country and first government administration organisation in the Waikato to deploy a website on the Common Web Platform (CWP)

HAMILTON, Waikato, Feb. 26, 2014 - A vastly enhanced user experience, compliance with web accessibility and usability standards, stringent security, and a device agnostic website are the result of the Waikato District Health Board’s decision to implement their new website on the Common Web Platform.

The new website is the outcome of a six months’ project by Waikato DHB’s media and communications team which overcame the challenge of having to fit the task around other priorities and seeing it through with a budget of only $20,000. 

The project was seen from the start as an opportunity to take the DHB’s web channels to a higher order of magnitude in terms of user experience, functionality, versatility, and total cost of ownership.  These goals had the team looking at their web infrastructure from square one.

The media and communications team did the project’s preliminary research and the designs.  The development of the website on the platform was done by Room9. 

The design and build processes

Waikato DHB held focus groups with external stakeholders (including groups with senior users, students, and with users from rural communities) in order to provide insights about the features and the content that they wanted in the DHB’s website.  In-depth interviews were held with internal stakeholders for a similar purpose although some of these discussions went further to include additional functionality such as specific support for certain browser versions and the integration of the website with enterprise applications.

All of the insights uncovered by the user research phase were contrasted against the information provided by the web analytics applications, against the already existing functionality and content, and against a wide set of web technology and design global trends.  

We took the opportunity to streamline the site and make it easier to find the most important information,” said webmaster André Chivell.  At launch the website has a significant amount of information and content.

There still remains a lot of information to be posted. Good websites are always a work in progress.

The need to support the rapidly increasing number of users requiring access to the website on their smartphones and tablets was one of the main design considerations.  On the platform the support for responsive layouts comes from having Twitter-Bootstrap integrated into the default theme. 

The DHB’s website was designed with four break-points which provide five layouts, namely: smartphone-vertical, smartphone-horizontal, tablet-vertical, tablet-horizontal, and larger canvas (notebook and larger).

Another key requirement was the need to support Internet Explorer 7 and 8.  This was important as a critical section of the website’s user base uses these legacy browsers.  Technologically, the challenge that had to be overcome by Room9’s development team was to ensure that the user experience for internet explorer users was consistent with that of people using modern browsers.  From a total cost of ownership perspective, this requirement was so important that 40 per cent of the budget was allowed for this feature.

Building the website on the Common Web Platform

The website is part of the New Zealand Government’s Common Web Platform built by initiative of the Department of Internal Affairs and developed by SilverStripe and Revera.

The benefits the Waikato DHB sought by building its new website on the platform are:

•           The reduction of unnecessary investment by being able to reuse technology and designs already developed by other agencies;
•           to leverage the provided tools, versioning and backups to help the DHB to comply with the public record keeping act;
•           to have a platform architecture that has been through an independent security review, reducing the reputational risk of the web infrastructure being compromised;
•           the security that comes from having regular patching and software updates provided, reducing the reputational risk of the web infrastructure being compromised;
•           to have software and infrastructure components as-a-service provided, reducing the risk of poor performance or downtime due to relying on aging software and hardware;
•           to leverage the provided single content management system across the DHB, reducing the risk of staff making publishing errors, and making it easier for business units to collaborate on content;
•           to leverage the provided comprehensive legal contract, which reduces legal costs and includes financial incentives for the provider to meet the agreed service levels.

Effectively the platform provides a strong level of security, efficiency, reliability, performance, and also shares any future improvements in functionality, at a low cost, with other government agencies. 

Everyone on the platform benefits from developments and new features,” said Mr.  Chivell.


By having launched its new website on the common web platform, Waikato DHB achieved a couple of milestones:

•           It is the first of all DHBs in New Zealand to have built and deployed successfully its website on the platform;
•           it is also the first government administration organisation in the Waikato to go live on the platform.

Developing the Waikato DHB site was also a milestone for Room9 as it marks its first completed project on the platform.  It was a milestone acknowledged by SilverStripe’s Senior Account Manager, Janine Eastwood, on behalf of her firm:

Well done to the Room9 team on successfully completing the re-platforming of the Waikato DHB’s site onto the Common Web Platform.  It is great that there is a locally based company who has the skills to deliver a great experience to help organisations in the Waikato make the most of their online presence.

Supporting Quote(s)

Janine Eastwood, Senior Account Manager, SilverStripe

“Well done to the Room9 team on successfully completing the re-platforming of the Waikato DHB’s site onto the Common Web Platform.  It is great that there is a locally based company who has the skills to deliver a great experience to help organisations in the Waikato make the most of their online presence.”

Mary Anne Gill, Communications Director, Waikato DHB
“Waikato DHB is recruiting in a global market for intelligent and passionate health professionals. Our monitoring shows that nearly 80 per cent of the people who visit our website are looking for a job. The others want to know about public health issues, how to get to the hospital and what services are there. We are not looking simply for clicks. We want people to come to our site, know who we are and come back. The website has to look professional reflecting our reputation of being a health provider entrusted with your loved ones’ care. Being able to access Silverstripe as the common web platform and using a local company to assist us, was a win win for us.”

Additional supporting resources
•           Waikato DHB new website
•           Room9
•           Common Web Platform website
•           Features of the default CWP website
•           About the Common Web Platform (
•           New Zealand Government Web Usability Standard
•           New Zealand Government Web Accessibility Standard
•           New Zealand Government Web Toolkit
•           Responsive design break-points 1
•           Responsive design break-points 2


Waikato District Health Board, Waikato DHB, Common Web Platform, CWP, Room9, responsive design, legacy browser support.

About the Waikato District Health Board

Waikato DHB is responsible for planning, funding and providing quality health and disability support services for the 373,220 people living in the Waikato DHB region. It has an annual turnover of $1.2 billion and employs more than 6,450 people.

About Room9

Room9 Limited is web applications and website development firm which provides holistic web services covering the whole lifecycle of a web asset, namely, web strategy, user experience, visual design, development, testing, digital analytics, and post-deploy services such as optimisation, web infrastructure evolution, and maintenance.  The company’s headquarters are located in Hamilton and it services clients from Northland to the Bay of Plenty.


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