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The context: A crucial source of information for building projects

The Building Research Authority of New Zealand (BRANZ) is the cornerstone of building and construction in Aotearoa New Zealand. As an independent research organisation, they focus on improving the NZ building system by providing guidance and research to architects, engineers, builders, designers, and anyone doing their own home projects. Their website holds important information about building safely and to code.

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Our approach: A modern look and new IA

We redesigned and built their website to modernise it and make information easy to find. We did a new visual design that emphasises the BRANZ brand, and implemented a new IA to organise information in a more intuitive and useful way.

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Simplifying the login system

We improved the security of the site and simplified the user experience through a new authentication and log-in system. BRANZ provides a lot of useful tools for builders and architects, on different websites. Previously, members had to log in every time they wanted to use one. Now they only need to log in once, and they stay logged in across all the BRANZ sites and tools. It makes for a much better user experience — particularly on a building site. 

For the login we used a service called Auth0. Auth0 is an identity and login provider, meaning that the security of logins is dealt with by a specialised provider, which saves time and cost, while also ensuring security.

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Streamlining the ecommerce set up

The website also contains an online shop, selling publications in hard copy and in digital ePub format, as well as online courses and seminars. We used Oscar to deliver a custom-made e-commerce setup, integrating with Windcave’s PxPay as the payment gateway, to enhance the unique purchasing flows of BRANZ users, and ensure they work smoothly.

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Calculators to help predict costs and solar power gains

We built the site using Django, with a Wagtail CMS. We used React for the calculators and tools that help people plan their designs and building projects, like the Universal Design Calculator, which estimates the cost of including universal design features for your particular project, or the Photovoltaic Generation Calculator, which provides an estimate (based on your house, location and solar system) of how much solar power you can expect to generate in a year.

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Evolving and updating with automated testing

We’re currently evolving and updating the site, working together to explore ways for further UX improvements and enhancements. Additionally, we've added automated end-to-end tests of the purchase flow so we can make sure that key functions are all working, and any regressions are caught, before any new releases or updates.