ICON Develops Digital Solution for EASO – the European Asylum Support Office
“I can attest that we are very pleased with the new EASO corporate Website ICON has delivered, as it was widely accepted by EASO partners and stakeholders. ICON was a reliable partner throughout the development process, and provided thorough training to ensure a smooth transition to the new digital solution.”
EASO, the European Asylum Support Office, is an independent and specialised body established to strengthen the EU countries’ practical cooperation on asylum. It supports EU countries whose asylum and reception systems are under particular pressure and works to enhance the implementation of the Common European Asylum System (CEAS). Since its formation in 2011, EASO has provided support to the governments in Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, Sweden and Bulgaria.
Former Prime Minister of Malta, Dr. Lawrence Gonzi (Left) and EASO Executive Director, Dr. Robert Visser (Right)
Business Objective: A one stop shop for all stakeholders
The project objective was to develop a digital solution which would function as a one-stop-shop for all EASO digital activities. The website would be visited by a large number of users from various EU countries, belonging to governmental bodies and non-profit organisations as well as private citizens. The new website would need to cater for heavy content which included detailed information regarding the organisation and its tasks, recent news, vacancies, procurement opportunities, EASO publications and other important documentation and links that its stakeholders require to carry out their daily activities.
In addition, two restricted areas needed to be constructed within the new site, giving access to documentation and site functions not available to the public. Due to the fact that a large number of individuals contribute to the site and use it for accessing specific documentation, the administrative backend needed to be easy to use and navigate.
Business Objective: Prioritising speed, mobile compatibility, and user friendliness
The new EASO website needed to be user-centric with a clear navigational structure, faster and more efficient than ever before. Synchronization and improved speed of both frontend and backend were highlighted as of utmost importance to ensure that the new website would run as efficiently as possible. From a user experience point of view, the new website needed to be mobile friendly, contain an improved navigation system as well as having key content appear above the fold. In order for the new site to perform well on search engines, it was required that the site be search engine friendly, including content optimisation and use of specific keywords.
EASO also required that all data saved on the CMS of the website would be stored within the EU.
ICON delivered a secure, scalable, high-availability web-based solutions that seamlessly combines innovative ideas and best practices in community based publishing, knowledge management and software design. ICON used Drupal 7 to develop the new site, offering a variety of key advantages over previous versions and other CMS’:
- It offers a user friendly administrative interface that makes regular tasks easy to carry out.
- Its flexible design allows the user to completely personalise the content structure as well as allowing the addition of custom content, users and comments.
- Sites built with Drupal 7 are faster, more responsive and can handle huge amounts of traffic with ease.
- Drupal is open source meaning that thousands of people are constantly working on improving the CMS, the modules, themes and distributions.
Whilst overseeing the management of the project, ICON tested items relating to UI and UX of the entire platform giving maximum importance to elements relating to usability and accessibility. A wide multi-country user-acceptance testing process was undertaken over a period of several weeks. This process was supported by a Europe-wide call and helpdesk service to receive verbal feedback and support request from system users.
Throughout the development phase ICON adhered to the strict guidelines defined by the ISO 9001:2008 Quality Management System, which ICON is certified for. This approach entailed a detailed review of all elements of code throughout each stage of the project.
When all stages of the project were completed, ICON organised a number of training sessions for the EASO project team in to ensure that each member of the digital team would have thorough knowledge on how to operate, update and insert content into the CMS.
“ICON is thrilled to have been selected as a key partner to EASO – an EU agency supporting governments and other stakeholders within the EU. EASO’s website is the main focus point for all its activities, and as such it needs to be an easily accessible source of information as well as an agile tool for both the organisation itself and its stakeholders. This demanded an advanced digital solution which ICON was proud to design and develop.”
Dr. Gege Gatt,
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