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Published on Wednesday, June 24, 2015
We’re kicking off the next phase of development of the new carlisle.gov.uk and moving into Beta.
We’ve been busy building and testing designs, processes and applications. We’ve done a lot of work on the user journeys, mapping out and understanding why people come to our website, this has involved working through the service requests or process end to end to understand the user and organisational needs. We are looking at all the content we have on the current site to ensure it meets these as we move it across.
We’ve also been learning how to use our Smarter Services Delivery Principles, and work within our content standard while ensuring the technology we need is in place to move the site forward.
Next it's into beta, this means we’re ready to share our work with you so we can gather as much feedback as we can while we continue with the build of the site over the next few months.
Basically this is a working prototype which you test with users, you can find a more detailed explanation from the Government Digital Service definition.
The site is still in a testing phase and is a developing prototype going through testing and rapid iterations.
We are trying to continuously improve on the prototype until it’s ready to go live, replacing or integrating with any existing services.
Our beta site has the basic structure in place, areas of content, integration with other system such as MyAccount and Live web forms, but we are building and adding to this on daily.
The Beta will run alongside our current website (the official digital channel of the Council for now) as more services areas are moved over during the summer building up to a go live with the new site in September.
So why make it public?
Making the beta live will help us underline things that don’t work well or could be done better – and that’s what we want! We’d rather know about the things that could be done better now, so we can improve on it before the beta becomes the official website of the Council.
What’s different from the current site?
Well almost everything. The beta site is responsive and optimised for use on different devices.
We’ve prioritised "real estate" on the home pages based on statistical analysis rather than opinion or conjecture in order to move people more quickly to the right content or transaction.
We’ve thought about how the site displays and the priority of content on devices but also about user behaviour on these devices touch navigation, for example and the use of icons. We’ve also prioritised the customer need on the pages by moving the infrastructure out of the way as much as possible and making content as succinct as we can by telling people as clearly as possible what they really need to know.
There are of course organisation needs to be met, and we recognise that the Council isn’t only a service provider but a key part of the city and wider community. This means we’re trying out new ways of displaying news, events and links to our partners as well. We also want to make this information integrate better with social media.
This is just a small example of the changes you will notice. We want to know how people use the site, and let us know what works well and what needs further development.
Design and content will all change over the next few months with more work by the team. We don’t expect the new carlisle.gov.uk will look exactly like our beta when it goes live in September.
We want people to try out the beta, tools like Google Analytics will help us capture this data but also the sites inbuilt analytics to produce heatmaps which show the relative navigational relationships between the different sections of the site.
We can take what we learn from this and other forms of user testing over the next few months as we move from the current site to the beta becoming the official channel. We will also be continuing to work with services to ensure both content and processes are up to date when transferred.
We’re just asking you to take look, give it go and let us know what you think!
Some pages you can try on the beta site are listed below:
Tags: Ben Renucci