The Tasmania Together Progress Board is an independent statutory authority responsible for monitoring progress towards the achievement of the goals and benchmarks and results are reported to all Tasmanians through the Parliament.
In 2008, DPAC selected Future Medium to develop a web application to allow de-centralised management of the myriad of data entry tasks relating to reporting on the goals of the Tasmania Together project. A public web presence was also required in order to allow users to generate various reports on the progress being made.
A set of 12 goals and 143 benchmarks have been selected to achieve the state's vision of safer communities, prosperous jobs, demonstrating our skills for the arts, education and technology to the rest of the world. To demonstrate this progress, it is necessary to enter a vast amount of information, including text and statistical data, and then display it in an easy to navigate and easily understandable fashion.
It was mandated that the site be developed in PHP, so we selected the Zend Framework as the architectural basis for the data entry web application. While still in beta testing at the time, this added a level of robustness and maintainability not normally associated with PHP, particularly as it provided a comprehensive Model-View-Controller architecture which was invaluable in creating a logical data entry system that could be maintained over time.
Great attention was paid to usability aspects, such as remembering the user's selections from previous actions to ensure they didn't need to constantly select the same options when entering a series of data items.
Two levels of access control were used to implement a workflow process, with changes needing to be approved before being published to the live website. User authentication is centrally controlled via integration with an existing Active Directory database.
The public website used a graphing tool to generate bar and line graphs from statistical data, in addition to a tabular view.
The finished system greatly eased the data entry process by reducing the amount of repetitive tasks, as well as increasing accuracy by sensible use of pre-filled options and validation. This in turn increased the usability and value of the website, allowing the general public greater visibility into the Tasmania Together process and achievements.