Eugene Water and Electric Board

Eugene Water & Electric Board (EWEB) is a publicly owned water and electric utility company in Eugene Oregon. It serves the city of Eugene and the McKenzie River valley community - totaling approximately 200,000 customers. EWEB's website is a primary communication tool for its customers. When looking for a new CMS solution, EWEB wanted to ensure they found a platform that could provide the content and functionality their customers required, but also one that provided the flexibility to scale their web presence as they grow in the future. 

The Decision to Redesign from Scratch 

EWEB's old website was built on a homegrown HTML-based CMS. It was maintained by Rachael Chilton, part of the Communications & Marketing team at the utility. Chilton was the sole web manager and wrote website content in HTML.

Needing a better solution that enabled other people to manage content, the organization decided to migrate to a new content management system and embarked on a public procurement process.

The original plan was to migrate the existing content as is and redesign it at a later time. However, not only was the code for the website 8-10 years old, the content on the website was as well. It was a good opportunity to take a fresh look at the content.

Chilton was able to show EWEB's leadership that implementing a new CMS was the perfect time to step back and complete a content strategy project in addition to migrating to a new technology platform.

In the end, the project involved the complete redesign of the EWEB website from strategy, architecture, voice and tone, to all new content (including imagery).

Redesigning the EWEB Website

The goal of the new website was to tell EWEB's story with fewer pages, simpler language, and improved findability. The old site was organized by how EWEB thought of itself – water, electricity, customer service – but it wasn't meeting the needs of the customer.

The new website is organized by how customers think of themselves – residential, commercial, contractors and developers. It also contains a lot fewer web pages – going from 800 web pages down to approximately 250. Chilton said that as a public company it is very important to be transparent to its customers (who are also its owners), but transparency doesn't mean you put absolutely everything on the website. Too much content tends to make things less transparent because you can't find anything. Today the right amount of information is available, organized according to how customers think, improving ease of access and customer experience.

EWEB selected Ingeniux in the end because it provided a strong demo that showed them what they could do with their website. Some of the key features that EWEB uses:

Flexible workflow: EWEB moved from one content manager to a team of content authors across the utility (many of whom had never worked on a website). EWEB needed a way to give the team the freedom to control their own content yet stay on strategy and maintain the consistent look and feel of the website. Ingeniux workflow combined the permissions and security that enabled this freedom.

Re-usable content: Many of the web pages are component-based; Chilton said it was great to get away from coding content in HTML, instead, entering content into a form and letting the CMS do the rest automatically.

Mobile first: The old website was not responsive. Ingeniux offered a great approach to responsive design that provided the mobile-first perspective the utility wanted.

Taxonomy: They use taxonomy to programmatically pull in content to different areas of the website, as well as different channels.

The Result: A Better User Experience, Increased Productivity 

"We leverage our newsroom a lot. And we have taken advantage of the built-in open graph for populating our social media channels. We were pretty excited the first time our newsroom/social media strategy led to coverage by local media."

Chilton admitted that is was harder to do it all at once than the expected. Every page was brand new content they had to write and then enter into the CMS within the timeline. But the end result made it worth the planning and preparation process in the beginning stages.

Maria Wren was the project manager responsible for making certain the project was a coordinated effort. She said that they were constantly learning throughout the process. With Ingeniux's help, they were able to build something that was very flexible.

"Overall, the concept, architecture and vision that Rachael and the Ingeniux team brought supported the design of a website from the customer perspective and provides the flexibility to grow in the future."

Customer feedback has been positive; customers are getting to information faster and easier. Chilton said that within the first 90 days bounce rates reduced by 29%, especially on the home page (dropping to 20% from 66%), time spent on site increased and the number of pages viewed per session increased to 2.33 pages/session.

EWEB provides a number of customer services online. The website, originally a simple communications tool, also serves as the portal for other applications, including Bill Pay. With the website in place and working smoothly, EWEB is looking at ways to deliver a more personalized experience for individual customers leveraging a new Customer Information System, Ingeniux CMS and several other integrations.

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Eugene Water and Electric Board

Ingeniux Case Study | Eugene Water & Electric Board (EWEB) selected Ingeniux CMS because the platform had the power to manage large amounts of content and uniquely agile content delivery capabilities.

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