Legislative Reference Bureau

Information Architecture & Web Development

At the end of 2019 my team at HIC completed work on two websites we designed and developed concurrently: the State of Hawaii Legislative Reference Bureau (LRB) website and Public Access Room (PAR) website. These are websites used by the Hawaii State Legislature to house hundreds of documents and make them accessible to legislators, the media, and the public.

When my team started work redesigning the LRB website, we were given an enormous file dump of a hand-coded, website and library of documents. If I remember correctly, someone had to actually walk the files over and deliver them on a hard drive. The website was over fifteen years-old and at one point probably worked just fine but had definitely overstayed its welcome on the world wide web.

Our goal was to refresh the look and feel of the site and create a new information structure that was easy to navigate. In order to do this, we first had to find, name, categorize, and organize the hundred of documents and publications.

Come to find out, a WordPress relational database and taxonomy expert (myself), a project manager with an iron will (my partner), and a librarian with a Masters in Library Science (the client) make a pretty good team for tackling this kind of work. Together we were able accomplish our first task of organizing the database so that we could make the hundreds of documents easily accessible.

Working on the visual refresh was a treat. We wanted the new websites to have an authentic feel so we organized some photoshoots to capture pictures of the people who worked for the LRB. We also strolled the halls of the State of Hawaii capitol building, snapping photos along the way. All of the photos for the LRB and PAR websites are the original work of my friend and talented photographer, Corey Rothwell.

The LRB website features the publications mentioned previously and a lot of other information pages organized into a relatively shallow navigation structure. The LRB logo is in the original retro style of the cover pages of the publications. The homepage background image is a photo of the Hawaii Session Laws volumes, of which the library had walls of.

The PAR site uses almost the same exact theme but we changed up the color scheme. This site features an action driven information structure and navigation that acts as a learning tool for the public to engage with the legislature. The homepage background image is a photo of the Public Access Room entrance, doors open, welcoming the public.

This website won the 2020 Webaward for Outstanding Achievement.