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Making our website more responsive

19 March 2015

With about 20% of site visitors now browsing the Auditor-General’s main website (oag.govt.nz) through a mobile phone, we needed to make some changes. Although the site has always functioned on smaller screens, we know the experience wasn't ideal.

We have paid attention to emerging and established good practice for responsive web design, so the site should now be more usable on any size screen. We've paid attention to how quickly pages load, how easy it is to scroll up and down through content, and how easy it is to click on links and buttons when the screen is small. We wanted the site to look similar on a small screen and a large screen, so we also aimed for design consistency between browsing devices (such as laptops, tablets, and mobile phones). This required, among other changes, a simpler approach to navigation and a focus on the home page content that users were actually using.

We took this opportunity to make some other small improvements. Many of our reports are lengthy so we've considered the factors that make reading them on screen easier. For example, we've made the font size bigger, increased the amount of space between lines of text, and removed some of the distracting "clutter" on pages.

There are still some items on our "to do" list, such as finding the most user-friendly way to handle large tables of data when the screen size is small, and making elements bigger when the screen size is very large. There's also a bit more work to do on accessibility and efficiency, and integrating social media features. We hope that the changes we've made so far will improve the site's usability, regardless of the type or size of device people use to read our content. We welcome your comments and suggestions for further improvements. 

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