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Local government website redesign project phases and business requirements for Camden Council UK

This is a cross-posting from Camden Council’s Website Redesign Project Blog, where I also blog.

We are now still in the first phase of Camden Council’s website redesign.  There are 3 core phases in this project, that Alasdair explains in detail in the video below.  It is important for us to communicate that once the website is launched, this project does not end there. There will be another 2 phases until the cycle is complete.

Phases of Camden Website Redesign Project from Liz Azyan on Vimeo.

The 3 phases of Camden Council’s (UK) website redesign project

  1. Phase 1 (User research) – Getting user data, conducting usability research and qualititative data on how people are using the site informing the new designs going live in July.
  2. Phase 2 (Usability) – Usability of transactions that sit behind the designs, particularly our navigation structure which is very much based on the Local Government Category List (LGCL) and our e-forms.
  3. Phase 3 (Innovation) – Developing widgets, iPhone apps, breaking down information on the site into usable things that people can use and any other types of innovations that might come about in the next 12 – 18 months.

Talking about improvements after Camden Council’s website redesign from Liz Azyan on Vimeo.

There’s a disconnect between the objectives of the website and the objectives of the business ~ Alasdair Mangham, Head of Information Systems, London Borough of Camden

According to Alasdair, the objectives of the website are largely driven by the local government type targets (i.e. the number of unique visitors to your site and calculation of the population that visits your site).  This however does not determine the success or improvement of the new website.

How we need to measure improvements in local government website redesign projects

As Alasdair mentioned in the video above, we need to ask ourselves what the business objectives are for the website in delivering its services online. We have a huge amount of information sitting there on the website that does not really get consumed by that many users.  For instance 80% of our information gets consumed by only 20% of our users, creating a vast long tail of information.  Therefore not satisfying the objective of the local authority or business objectives of a particular online service/transactional focused website.

Key objectives of delivering services online for Camden Council

Key objectives of Camden Website Redesign Project from Liz Azyan on Vimeo.

So its clear now that this project needs to fulfill the business objectives in order to make it success.  We need to identify what are the business objectives for delivering services online. And once we’ve done that, only then we can start making measurements on the websites’ improvements.

Digital Strategy – Camden Council’s Business Requirements

It is also important to identify what the business requirements are in this project to ensure they are in sync with the web development of the redesign. Our business requirements are divided into 10 categories. Those categories and business requirements are listed below: –

  • Strategy and policy – Defining council-wide policies and clear management responsibilities, establishing SLA’s, ensuring web training is documented, resources are secured and roadmap for future developments.
  • Roles, responsiblities and workflows
    • Assigning ownership of content
    • Service areas take greater responsibility for site
    • Facility to allow manager to send content to officer for instant update or vice versa.
  • Brand – Increased promotion of website, all pages conform to a style guide and focus on local area, not just the organisation (i.e. Love Camden content).
  • Technology
    • Integration with service systems
    • E-Form integration with customer services and other systems
    • Single application / engine for all mapping services
    • Platform independent – conformance with EGIF
    • Top content dashboard presented to backend administrators / content editors
    • Futureproof, scalable and adaptable.
  • Access, channels and engagement
    • Incentivise online interactions
    • Ongoing involvement and feedback from residents in understanding their website needs
    • Enhance digital engagement with users without internet access
    • Incentivise return visits
    • Get people to regularly use the site who at the moment rarely visit
    • Consultation & Engagement Portal
    • Portals defined by Audience type
    • Distinctive site focused exclusively for young people
    • Content, look & feel targeted to youth audience
    • Ask users for opt-in to SMS when contacting customer services via phone
    • Satellite sites run by services
    • Partner extranet
    • Replacing paper consultations with social media or other online engagement
  • Content
    • Engage users to pro-actively assist in content curation
    • Increased synergy between offline and online content
    • Play to the strengths of digital, and avoid simply copy/pasting content from offline
    • Democracy section needs improved audit trail facility to observe & track governmental decision making
  • Services and transactions – All services available online
  • Contact, notification and feedback
    • Increase use of email notification within services
    • Services and contact should be responsive & provide continuous user feedback
    • Increase use of SMS notifcation within services
    • E-newsletters to residents & stakeholders
    • Ability to update web and call centre instantly
    • Ensure web and call centre advice is consistent
    • Ability for users to request online contact ONLY
    • Integration of FAQs with call centre logs
    • Improved collection and management of customer data
  • Stats and analysis – User journey data available for analysis by council
  • Social media and user generated content (UGC)
    • Utilise social media tools for engagement, consultation & communication
    • Council Home Swap – residents upload photos of flat, search for other properties
    • Compliment, rather than duplicate, existing websites that support the voice of Camden

Conclusion

Hopefully this has given readers a clearer idea of what this project aims to do and what they can expect from Camden Council’s website in the future.

Please leave comments if you wish to know more or to tell us what you think of our project. Please don’t forget to check our other blog posts too.

About Liz Azyan

Liz is a CREATIVE digital professional dedicated to helping individuals, governments and businesses realize their digital goals. She offers digital consultancy services on her website LizAzyan.com Liz is also a Google Fellowship Recipient (individuals selected based on their work and initiative in the arenas of technology, politics and social entrepreneurship), an invited expert panel on the Guardian’s Public Leader Network and has spoken at many public events and conferences on the subject of digital engagement.

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