Vlaamse MilieuMaatschappij 

Informing and engaging citizens on air quality 

Flanders Environment Agency (VMM) wanted to involve citizens in improving air quality. They turned to Namahn to redesign their website and design a tool to inform and engage their visitors.

Vlaamse Milieu Maatschapij Public Dutch 3 designers

Making air quality engaging

VMM used the platform hoemeetiklucht.eu to familiarise the public with the stakes of air quality: why it is important, what the factors are that affect it and what citizens can do about it. The former version of the website was full of knowledge but lacked a structure to guide its visitors towards concrete action.

Namahn joined the team to create a new version of hoemeetiklucht.eu setting out to simplify the information and structure it to be more accessible for newcomers and nudge them to act.

VMM also wanted to empower interested or engaged citizens and decided to develop a data portal. This portal renders all data measured by citizens available and useable for all, even those without prior knowledge on air quality.

Testing and simplifying 

We defined the goals and needs of the platforms during the first workshop and defined the order of importance of the data portal’s features through a KANO analysis. That survey was shared by VMM through its communication channels to reach its future users (citizens and local governments).

On the other hand, we analyzed the current version of the website to understand all the information it contained and how to possibly reframe it.

User tests taught us that some people really wanted to get detailed information, while others are happy with learning the basics. The KANO analysis also highlighted differences in what experts and curious people expected, but that they aligned on some key features as well. The whole platform was designed with that common ground as a basis while making sure that the different profiles can find what they are looking for.

The logic in Namahn’s vision on the new web platform made it very easy to convince managers, resulting in implementation within a couple of months after the mock-up and design phase – Christophe Stroobants, team leader integrated projects and modelling at VMM

Guiding users along their journey 

We designed a new information architecture that better funnels all the knowledge. This resulted in a few key template pages that allow the users to either scan the information or go deeper and learn more. We also provided VMM with writing guidelines to ensure new content remains accessible for citizens.

The data portal looks similar to other map tools, so it is intuitive to start using. It allows users to select one or more measurement points to compare and spot patterns in the data. It can be used as a tool for local governments or organizations when trying to establish a new policy or implement measures.

The current version, samenvoorzuiverelucht.eu, is a minimal loveable product that was launched in October 2021. The VMM team will continue to develop the data portal in future rounds based on the backlog of features Namahn created.

Working with Namahn allowed us to finally simplify our platform that grew ever more complex over the past years and provided us with a vision on maintaining a certain level of elegance – Christophe Stroobants, team leader integrated projects and modelling at VMM