• 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.
  • There’s no place like home?

    As mentioned in my previous post, we recently implemented a new home page. It was a really big improvement on what we had and has proved very popular. The thing is, do we still need to worry so much about our homepage?

    Since starting here at DCC I’ve always thought that the content on our homepage has been considered as really important. Unfortunately, the emphasis was very often placed on making sure there was a feature about a campaign which needed to be promoted or a story about how well the council has been doing at something. It was a case of “get it on the homepage” without any real thought being given to whether or not it had any right to be there.… Read the rest

  • It’s a marathon not a sprint

    In the year of the London Olympics I felt it only appropriate that I begin my blog with an athletics based cliché. The marathon I refer to though is not one that involves donning a pair of unnecessarily short shorts, running/walking/crawling for 26 miles, developing enormous blisters and producing gallons of sweat. Hopefully there will be no blood or tears either, although I can make no guarantees on that.

    No, the marathon I’m referring to is far more challenging. A content review of the Devon County Council website. I think it’s probably fair to say that for sometime we as an organisation have been guilty of content creation and subsequent abandonment.… Read the rest