Posted on 16 October 2013 by Sarah Avery
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. Continue reading
Posted on 23 August 2013 by Patrick Jones
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? Continue reading
Posted on 26 July 2013 by Patrick Jones
It’s been just over a month since our last team update so there’s penty of stuff to catch up on. There’d be even more but it’s difficult to work with an ice cream in one hand and a refreshing cold drink (definitely non alcoholic) in the other, whilst sat on the beach – only kidding! Continue reading
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Posted on 17 June 2013 by Patrick Jones
We seem to have lost our team mojo when it comes to blogging recently but that doesn’t mean we aren’t short of posts to write and in fact we have a number in draft and in shared google docs in the team. Continue reading
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Posted on 23 May 2013 by Lore Gubb
Part of my role in the team is to manage the schools communications, Carl asked me to write a post explaining what it is and essentially explain what I do when I’m not doing what the rest of the team are doing!!
Schools electronic communication to Devon local authority schools is a service offered by the council to communicate information to schools from services within the council and also if approved outside organisations and companies (although a charge is applied for this service), however we do not and can not make recommendations.
All information communicated directly to schools which have converted to academy status has to be approved by the Head of Education and Learning (Sue Clarke). … Read the rest
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Posted on 10 May 2013 by Carl Haggerty
On Friday last week our new Democracy webpages were put to the test with the Local Election results being broadcast and reported live.
Unfortunately we experienced some downtime during the morning which clearly isn’t and wasn’t a good thing.
We want to share some of the lessons we learned based on a team conversation this morning.
Firstly lets focus on some of the positives, which are actually contributing factors to why it went down, but are worth celebrating at the same time.
The stats for Friday:
- 42,668 visits
- 255,281 page views
- Elections Live Widget – 4,633 visits
- Average time spent on site – 5 minutes 45 seconds
- 6,066 visits from Mobile
For comparison our main corporate website stats for Friday were:
- 48,938 Page views
These stats are fantastic, but we didn’t anticipate this level of usage given that on an average day the main council website gets around 13,000 visits – so we had planned that we would “worst case” get twice this amount during the day which would have been great….However the critical factor for us, which is why the site went down was that the majority of the 42,000 visits (nearly 4 times the daily average) to the Election pages were during a 2 hour period starting from 10am.… Read the rest
Posted on 9 April 2013 by Patrick Jones
In our last team blog I talked about how we were busy working on our 3 ‘centre’ projects. Deadlines were looming and all the team were contributing in some way to getting the new sites up and running. Continue reading
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Posted on 4 April 2013 by Tim Barrett
We have just completed a project which redesigned the democracy pages on our website – it is only a version 1 as some of the ideas we wished to implement weren’t manageable in the timescale.
Also with Elections just around the corner we felt it was better to work with a new administration on some of the changes. Like the rest of our public website content will be, the democracy pages have been developed in WordPress.
The previous councillor profile pages were a hybrid of database and manageable content which made it awkward to edit so we made a decision to move the whole lot into wordpress as custom post types and a set of taxonomies.… Read the rest
Posted on 25 March 2013 by Carl Haggerty
June is now the month of Create / Innovate here in Devon.
What is Create / Innovate I hear you ask, well Create / Innovate aims to raise awareness and practical exposure of innovation and service design in public services. It is also intended to challenge and shift the thinking and culture within the organisation and beyond.
One of the reasons for holding Create / Innovate is to respond to a recent report to our Corporate Leadership Team in relation to Barriers to Digital Innovation. The key findings of that report were that we had a diverse set of reasons why digital innovation specifically was difficult – for most services it was a combination of one or more of the following:
- Attitude to Risk
- Cultural issues
- Policy issues
- Technical issues
- Resource issues
We had a series of actions which aim to remove or reduce the barriers over the coming months and this has now framed our work programme, the focus of which will include education, awareness and training as well as the practical encouragement and support of pilots and prototypes across the council.… Read the rest