Emergency Management Otago


User centred design  

Digital Strategy 

Website Design 

Web development  

Umbraco CMS 

Microsoft Azure

Local Government


Emergency Management Otago needed a website that had the flexibility to communicate what are very different messages before an event to those required during a civil defence emergency.

The role of Emergency Management Otago is to coordinate the planning and response to hazard and emergency management in Otago.  They play a critical role both before a civil defence emergency as well as during and after – Readiness, Response and Recovery. 

They needed a reliable website and content management system that was simple, flexible and easy to use in a high pressure situation.

Understanding who the key users are and what they needed a website to deliver, in order to help them be better prepared for an emergency.

Through this process we identified three key personas: Sorted Sally, Put off Pete and Free Wheeling Fred.

We worked with Emergency Management Otago to deliver an Umbraco powered website that can easily switch between two distinct modes of operation – Readiness and Response.


The readiness mode of the website provides a clear call to action for Otago residents to prepare themselves for an emergency event. 

We also worked to break down some of the barriers people face in getting prepared, breaking this down to 3 simple steps.


We developed the ability for district content managers to add their own alerts to the website which display on the homepage as well as on the district specific website.

It became clear through the design and development process that Otago CDEM also needed the ability to provide information about minor events such as weather warnings through the website, without entering an ‘all-in response mode.’

When switched to response mode, the website’s sole focus becomes to deliver critical information about the unfolding civil defence emergency, and what action people need to take.

During an emergency there is a need to update the public quickly with information so we built a range of event-specific templates that can be used as the basis for the content manager to build on.

These templates enable the key messages to be immediately visible on the website, helping keep Otago residents safe and informed.


The outcome of Emergency Management Otago's user-centred approach is a website that prioritises clear and timely communication in emergency situations. By understanding the needs of their key users, the website can easily switch between two modes - Readiness and Response - and deliver information tailored to the specific stage of an emergency. This helps Emergency Management Otago better coordinate hazard and emergency management in Otago, keeping the community safe. 

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