You know when there’s an area of your website that isn’t quite right and needs sorting out but for whatever reason you just don’t get round to doing anything about it? Well, that was the case with the cycling content on our website (there are lots of other areas as well but let’s just concentrate on cycling for now).
We had got ourselves into a situation where our cycling content had become spread over 3 seperate websites. We had numerous pages on our core devon.gov.uk site as well as a site called Cycle Exeter and then another site called Cycle Devon. Cycle Devon was meant to be the primary source of information but with the pages on devon.gov.uk still remaining active and actually being updated from time to time it must have been extremely confusing for our audience to actually work out where they should be going for the most up to date and accurate information.
We realised that this needed to be sorted out so, working with our colleagues in cycling, we looked at the all the content that was out there and organised it into a far leaner and (hopefully) logical structure. We concentrated on reducing the unecessary content that was bogging down our sites and linked externally wherever we felt that there was already good quality, reliable information that we didn’t need to be repeating.
We launched a beta version of the site initially and this was promoted via twitter. The feedback received was largely positive and helped us to identify missing content or bits that weren’t quite right.
To say that I’m cutting a long story short is a pretty big understatement but we eventually managed to put our new Cycle Devon website live. Much of the new site involved fairly basic templates and functionality but we did manage to make use of Google maps in order to improve how we presented the Cycle shops and hire section although even here we had to make some compromises in order to satisfy requirements across all browsers (thanks, IE) and devices.
An area of the site we’d like to develop is the Cycle routes and maps which currently just contains a collection of documents and links. There is definite potential for increased interactivity by making more use of mapping and ideally being able to plot all the routes on a map along with the additonal information found in the leaflets. We think we’ve got access to the data required to get this started but have realised that there’s quite a lot of learning to be done! Any advice gratefully received!