Web Design Consulting in the South Pacific

The Challenge

For my second stint in the Peace Corps, I worked as a Web Design and Development Consultant in Port Vila, Vanuatu for six months. I worked with the Ministry of Youth and Sports, a national branch of government in the island nation of Vanuatu. Read more in my blog post on why I decided to take a leave of absence to work in the South Pacific.

My role: Brainstorming, whiteboarding, design thinking, information architecture, ux design, visual design, web development
My deliverables: Working website built in Joomla, social media presence, social media graphics, training and development

Defining & Ideating

To provide the Ministry of Youth and Sports with a responsive website, low in bandwidth, and easy to access from remote islands around the country. Train employees at the Ministry on how to manage and update the website once it is built. During the beginning stages of this project, I spent a lot of time with all the stake holders in the national government, learning about what exactly the Ministry of Youth and Sports did in Vanuatu. I learned about what they thought was important to be show cased on their site and who would be accessing the site. We began problem solving by a hyrbid card sorting exercise to determine the purpose of the site. I then moved in to low fidelity wireframing and creating a site map.


Prototyping & Iterating

After I had my head wrapped around the foundation of the organization, I began designing in the browser through Joomla, the CMS that was what was standard in Vanuatu for all  government websites. I designed the site with 3G networks on remote islands in mind, limiting the amount of media on the pages, as well as clicks that the user would have make, while using their data for page loads. The pages were designed on a design system that scaled from primary pages to secondary pages having the same layout and design. All headers included a photo from that section's work. The most difficult aspect of this project was gathering content from over 40 islands spread across the Pacific Ocean, some with limited access to the internet. Read more about what I learned working as a web design consultant in the South Pacific.


Testing & Launching

After the site launched, the most important work began. With the old phrase "a website is never done" in mind, I trained 3 employees at the Ministry on how to update the Joomla site with new content, as well as how to manage the Facebook appropriately. This training went so well that I then gave a government wide training to almost fifty employees, offering professional development skills in the fundamentals of web design. Read more about what I learned while living in Vanuatu in a blog post I wrote when I was backpacking through South East Asia.