York Region

A user centered web portal to connect with citizens

York Region is a growing and diverse regional municipality in Southern Ontario, Canada. Governed by York Region Council, the Region is made up of nine diverse towns and cities. Akendi was chosen to work with York Region on designing and delivering a new website that would meet the diverse needs of citizens. This was accomplished through the creation of a service-based and user centered website that connects with users, creates a sense of pride and overcomes the silo format that government agencies can suffer from.


Responsive Web UX Design, User Research & Development


  • award ribbon

    IABC Toronto Ovation 2014 – Award of Merit

  • award ribbon

    The Web Marketing Association – 2014 Web Award for Outstanding Website

Case study overview
York Region UX Web Design

The challenge

York Region's previous website did not accurately reflect the vibrant demographic or attitudes of its citizens. Their website was dated, not sized for modern day browsers and didn't provide mobile access. It conveyed a low-quality feel and did not engage users, inspire them or make them feel proud of where they live. Most importantly, the navigation structure created difficulty navigating to key user tasks as it assumed users would have intrinsic knowledge of department offerings. The challenge was to present York Region in a more visually interesting and compelling way that users could identify with and feel confident using. Akendi worked with York Region to redefine its web presence.

York Region Wireframe Design

Our new website has been developed to enhance the user experience. The website's intuitive navigation makes it much easier to find information that's important to our residents and other stakeholders. With a responsive design that adjusts the website for easy viewing on any device, the new website is convenient and accessible.

York Region Chairman
and CEO Bill Fisch

York Region Usability Testing
York Region Wireframe Design York Region Usability Testing

Our approach

Akendi conducted extensive user research with people from all nine municipalities in York Region as well as stakeholder interviews with members from York Region's six departments. From this personas were created allowing York Region employees to better understand what users do when on the website. To improve website navigation and architecture, Akendi conducted an inventory of all services and which department was responsible for delivery. Card sorting sessions were conducted with users from all municipalities to better understand their mental models when categorizing content on the website. Drawing on interview and card sorting data, a service-based information architecture was created for the new website. This allowed users to access the information they needed quickly and efficiently without requiring knowledge on department structures or offering.

Over 50 wireframes were created and usability testing was conducted to ensure that users could complete their tasks on the website without difficulty. The visual approach supported the tasks that users have on the website while showcasing the best of York Region. Vibrant, fresh colours, and vivid photography created visual and emotional interest that engaged citizens as they interacted with the website.

York Region Web Styleguide York Region Web Front-end code

The final website creates an inspiring and enjoyable experience for residents and employees alike regardless of device and platform used to access the website. The website gives a positive, approachable, professional and welcoming feel while creating a sense of pride with residents, businesses and developers.

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About Akendi

Akendi is a human experience design firm, leveraging equal parts experience research and creative design excellence. We provide strategic insights and analysis about customer and user behaviour and combine this knowledge with inspired design. The results enable organizations to improve effectiveness, engage users and provide remarkable customer experiences to their audiences.