Thursday, September 17, 2015

Not another website

The next evolution of the Department's public website is being considered. But much has changed, and significantly changed, over the three years since the last build.
The content management platform is now complemented by a range of online services that make up the Department's managed online presence and identity. Social media has grown nearly 1,000%. Mobile access now dominates public access. Global cloud services provide new agility.

My hope is that this next evolution will not result in another website.

We need to integrate these complementary services so that the user experiences a seamless Department presence and identity that delivers useful information and services.

We need to maximise the benefits that participative media brings to communication and community.

While there will undoubtedly be some traditional web pages I'm interested in exploring what a vibrant online presence and identity might look like, feel like and be like.

Have we challenged our assumptions and asked the necessary questions?

How do we strategically plan an agile sustainable system that is useful and engaging?

Some drivers of this strategic planning may be...

  • Learners first - the Department's core business is learning. Learning services for anyone, anywhere, anytime.
  • Users first - the Department's Strategic Plan focuses on meeting client needs and expectations, saving users time
  • Mobile first - mobile access now dominates public access to online information and services. Many users have mobile-only Internet access.
  • Google search first - most users try Google search first to locate Department information, locations and services (Google Services)
  • 90% of users access 10% of content - the majority of users access a small proportion of the Department's content
  • Social media - access to department's social media channels has increased nearly 1,000% over the last two and a half years (Social media services)
  • Effective searching - users expect to quickly find the most relevant search results
  • Story telling - the power of stories, narration and video
  • Compliance - there are new higher standards for web accessibility and design, Creative Commons and open data

Recent developments in technology offer new possibilities...

  • HTML5 - offers responsiveness across most devices
  • Tags - increase search usefulness
  • News feeds - choose your own device and reader
  • Interactive video - choose your own learning adventure
  • User customisation - saved settings for different audiences and interests
  • Mobile apps - add your own content
  • GPS - location aware features
  • NBN - Tasmania is becoming well connected
  • Augmented reality - access layered information, Web 3.0 - an intelligent web of things
This is a wicked problem  :-)


Anonymous said...

Hi Roger, the starting point should really be 1. who are the specific types of clients/ the people wanting information online from DoE via a website or whatever, then 2. what specific types of information are they looking for and how do they need it? It's only really worth considering various technologies after these are known.

It's probably essential that there's extensive client user testing eg linked from our current website. At LINC Tas we've used the Optimalsort suite of tools, and they've been fantastic.


Roger Stack said...

Hi Lynley, I missed this comment earlier. I agree and we have much more data on the first two questions than we did during the last rebuild - especially from analytics which have been recorded over the last year or so.

However your comment has got me thinking about how much technology choices are determined by several factors including end users, stakeholders and the organisation. We talk about leaving the technology choices until last but that often isn't the reality - or perhaps even desirable. Designing and implementing sustainable solutions that are agile enough for constant change also impacts on technology choices.

I'll reply in more detail in a new post because I think this is an issue worth exploring.