Digital transformation of a Provincial Regulator

Client /

Ontario Association of Architects

Service /

Digital strategy and website development

Industry /

Non-Profit Organizations 

The Ontario Association of Architects is a self-regulating organization governed by the Architects Act, which is a statute of the Government of Ontario. The Association is dedicated to promoting and increasing the knowledge, skill and proficiency of its members, and administering the Architects Act, to serve and protect the public interest.

Business Challenge

The OAA had a dual challenge. Firstly, the organization wanted to tackle a brand redesign to better reflect its current mission and goals. Secondly, it needed to re-platform its digital channel to modernize from a decade-old content management system, meet accessibility standards, redesign content strategy and user experience, and intersect with the organization’s new brand.

For the website’s redesign, a key business need was for the OAA to improve the public’s understanding and awareness surrounding its role as a regulator. The OAA had a desire to improve the public’s understanding of the architecture profession, its role regulating Ontario’s professionals, and who they are. Another key business need was for the OAA to increase engagement with its members and improve communication within the organization through better community engagement tools and content.

flexible and intuitive platform

thoughtful information architecture

responsive and accessible

Transformative Vision

On the brand and design side, Enginess worked with Leo Burnett Canada, who developed the Ontario Association of Architects new logo and identity design system, and Toronto-based Sputnik who led the development of the OAA’s digital design system. Outputs from these design partners became central to the design sensibility of the OAA’s digital platform as an online place to bridge communities. The central circle, which doubles as an O for “Ontario,” is representative of the community and inclusivity of the membership. The outer pieces framing this circle are representative of the architect’s space, and create two As—a nod to “Association” and the two member types: architects and architectural technologists (Lic.Tech.OAA).

Enginess’ Director of Digital Strategy, Simone Abel, led the digital experience strategy and product planning for the new website. A multi-year effort to complete, Simone expertly guided the OAA in designing a new digital platform inclusive of re-imagined and new capabilities that would allow them to meet key strategic objectives. Key work activities in the planning and design process included a CMS technology procurement exercise, formulation of user experience requirements, content analysis and content strategy, accessibility design compliance, and production of development specifications for engineering and testing teams. 

Deliverables and Outcomes Enginess conducted an extensive CMS technology procurement analysis, which resulted in the OAA choosing Advantage CSP. Key to this choice was the platform’s core multi-domain / multi-site experience capabilities, which powers two separate, but connected, domains for public and member portal audiences, a major strategic recommendation based on the audit and discovery phase. 

The OAA had an outdated platform that made structured and unstructured content creation a major challenge. Simone led the OAA through an extensive content audit and new sitemap (information architecture) analysis that included user surveys and in-person UX research workshops with key representatives of the OAA’s members and public services. 

This analysis led to informed decisions on how to rebuild the OAA information architecture and content experience, which would become central to the OAA new digital platform and how the OAA communicates its mission to the public and its members.

The OAA’s mission of protecting and serving the public interest is made explicitly clear, allowing users to quickly learn about the architecture profession and the OAA’s regulatory role, gain more information about illegal practices, review complaints and discipline processes, and make visible member registrar investigations. 

Business Impact Summary Simone calls the new website “an impressive showpiece of a content- and user-first approach to digital experience design.” With Advantage CSP powering the OAA new multi-experience digital platform, the OAA benefits from a modern CMS back-end, new tools to manage, categorize, and search high volumes of content, and new capabilities to drive engagement, transparency, and feedback. 

As a result, the OAA was able to meet a key strategic goal, enabling the re-organization of the public versus member experience, allowing for targeted growth and expansion of features, content, and messaging to each audience. Making this possible is the Advantage CSP platform’s multi-experience capabilities, which powers two separate, but connected, domains for public and member audiences. 

The OAA’s primary digital channel now has endless possibilities for new integrations, custom features, and growth.  Read OAA’s press release here