Award Nominations

Commissioner for Environmental Sustainability

Category: Government
Entrant: Weave
State of Entry: VIC
Website: https://www.ces.vic.gov.au

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The Commissioner for Environmental Sustainability is an independent office within the Victorian Government. The Commissioner’s main role is to report on the state of Victoria’s environment and help government, business and the community take practical action, especially through the five-yearly State of the Environment report.

When Dr Gillian Sparkes became Commissioner in 2014, she engaged Weave to design and develop a new website, putting her own stamp on the emphasis and message of the office.

The website is aimed at government agencies, businesses, and members of the Victorian public looking for high-level aggregated information about the state of Victoria’s environment.

A particular emphasis of this project was to widen the audience for the Commissioner’s work to include school and university students, strengthening the agency’s educational mission. We did this by making content easily accessible that had previously been buried in lengthy reports.

The site uses CSS animation to enhance the immersive nature of the design, including zoom on hover on the front pages, and subtle parallax scrolling on topic pages.

The site is structured around six key topics related to Victoria’s environment: air quality, biodiversity, coastal waters, inland rivers and streams, land, and climate change. Topic pages are built around static content (based on the State of the Environment report), but we use taxonomy to dynamically display related articles for each topic, so the website never feels stale.

Anticipating mapping functionality as a future requirement of the website, we’ve included the ability to store geolocation data as a non-displayed field for articles, meaning that once the site is ready to release mapping as a feature, the data will already be there.

The new Commissioner emphasises a science-based approach and a positive appreciation of Victoria’s environmental assets. However, most of the content on the site came from an existing State of the Environment report. The challenge was to use this existing content while reflecting the new Commissioner’s approach.

We dealt with this challenge using taxonomy that reflects the new Commissioner’s priorities, design that immerses users in the beauty of Victoria’s environment, and a dynamic blog-style content structure that allows the new Commissioner to publish new content as it is available, rather than waiting five years for the next big report.

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