// Waterfront Navigator Case Study – Enervision Media

Case Study: Creating Content for a New Site to Guide Users through the Permitting Maze

The Challenge

The process for developing on or near New York City’s waterfront or wetland areas has historically been challenging for many applicants, particularly those with smaller budgets. Making a mistake has caused delays. Homeowners and small businesses aren’t always able to hire consultants to guide them through the process of dealing with multiple federal, state, and local agencies.

New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYC EDC), with a grant from Empire State Development, had a charter to create a website to educate applicants about the process and guide them through the process of applying for a waterfront permit.  The website had to have a sophisticated Wizard to guide applicant-users. The problem would be in consolidating information from the various agencies involved.

The Solution

SOS Brooklyn was the prime contractor on the project, and Enervision Media was chosen to develop all content for the new website, to be called the Waterfront Navigator.

The project took 14 months from start to finish – the majority of which was spent in researching and building the content for the site. A team was put together to create the content in a collaborative fashion, consisting of NYC EDC, as well as representatives from U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New York State’s Department of State as well as the Department of Environmental Conservation, and New York City’s Department of City Planning. Our solution was to shepherd the content creation by engaging the agencies in the creative process.

We conducted interviews with each agency that identified the problems in the current process

Our analysis of existing requirements resulted in a consolidated project taxonomy - a cornerstone of the information architecture

We led the collaborative content development work - including logic work on the Permitting Wizard

The Waterfront Navigator Website

User-centered Content

The resultant content was based on testing with users who resembled the prospective users of the Waterfront Navigator. We listened to their feedback, and the resultant content was tailored to their needs.


From the get-go, the application was designed to play well on tablets and mobile phones as well as desktops. That meant designing content in “chunks” that can be managed on smaller devices.

Multiple Approaches to Guidance

Keeping in mind that users have different needs and scenarios for use, the site provides guidance to applicants in a variety of ways, from a helpful wizard that takes longer to complete to quick lookups of terms and definitions.

Project Scenarios

Months of Effort




The result is an educational resource that balances the interests of both regulatory accuracy the need for something understandable to the general public.

Andrew Glenn Senior Vice President, New York City Economic Development Corporation

This project required an extraordinary amount of discovery sifting through dense regulatory materials. As data architect and controlling website copy, Meryl and her team at Enervision Media did a wonderful job. Meryl’s strong personality and drive to simplify information was exactly what the project required in order to wrangle content from the Army Corps of Engineers, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, New York State Department of State, and New York City Department of City Planning. Meryl employed numerous methods of organizing content and reflecting simplified interpretations of material back at the regulators— this is exactly what the project needed.

I am not alone in saying I recommend Meryl and the work of Enervision for similarly complex projects in the future.

Max Taffet Senior Project Manager, New York City Economic Development Corporation

Get in Touch

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