• The digital transformation of ‘Education and Families’

    In autumn last year I started leading on a project to redevelop DCC online information about schools and services for children and families. This covered a huge area of our website and existing information was split in two very separate sections – ‘children and families’ and ‘education and learning’ – in line with distinct council service areas.

    As a parent myself I’d always felt that that the navigation (let alone design) of the existing site wasn’t aimed at the needs of users – parents, carers and young people. Simple tasks that you would expect to be able to carry out easily, such as finding school term dates, applying for a school place or searching for childcare meant numerous clicks or wading through pages of unnecessary service jargon to find what you were looking for.… Read the rest

  • Unpicking data and using it to shape development

    One of the changes we've made to this blog recently is a drive to make it more dynamic, with regular, snappy updates about projects, ideas or anything else related to change and transformation. As I haven't contributed for, ahem, quite a while, I'll use that as an excuse for the less-than-snappy post that follows. This actually started out as a report about a specific piece of work, which evolved into a blog post as I thought it was worth sharing. I hope people find it interesting.
  • Writing for the web

    Up until a few months ago, when I started working on content for our new social care and health beta web pages, I thought that writing for the web was easy. Surely the techniques for writing good print copy would be the same for digital content?The existing Devon County Council social care site has evolved over several years, with a confusing navigation and lots of unnecessary content aimed at staff rather than the public. Many pages are lacking in Plain English, with overly long sentences, too much jargon and excessive use of third-person narrative.As I began writing for the beta site, I soon realised that my understanding of what makes good online copy was quite basic. With a limited knowledge of keywords and SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) I wasn't sure if I was doing the right things to attract users to our pages and then keep them there.