This is Phil Jewitt, senior communications manager at the council.
We rolled out the new site on the 12 July at 8pm….4 hours before Friday the 13th!
This will be the last post on this blog, as it was created as a development tool to collect and discuss build requirements and explain the history of the project and update at key milestones. As we have rolled out the new site then there is no need to continue a web development project blog. That is not to say we won’t be wanting feedback on further developments in the future. We will but that will be on a separate platform.
We would however like to keep it open for others to see the history.
We hope the new site met with approval. Initial feedback suggested it did. There will always be some content issues that we will try and cover as we move forward. The new site includes the facility to feedback and rate the content on each page. We will use this feedback and site stats to inform future improvements.
I would like to say a huge thank you to Mike Chitty for helping to set up and curate this blog and to everyone who has contributed and made time to come in and see the demo sites and give their views, much appreciated and it did make a difference. Most of your comments were taken on board and where they weren’t we explained the reasons why.
I’d like to say a huge thanks to the web team, you all know who you are, for the dedication and delivering the new site, the first project we delivered using scrum Agile. You all rock!. Also credit to the service area teams. We put you under pressure to get our content sorted and we covered most of it by the launch day.
Last shout out is for Lizzie S. You were ace, show #thatlondon how to do it.
Over the last year we have been building a new publishing system and website which will improve how we present and manage our information on leeds.gov.uk.
The replacement is nearly finished and we intend to go live in the next few weeks. The new website will include different navigation and design, will allow us to publish in real time and provide a way for you to feedback about the information on each page.
We have recently moved our development site to a beta version. beta.leeds.gov.uk and thought the people who have contributed views through this blog might appreciate a preview.
We still have site testing to do, design tweeks to make and some way to go to publish and polish content required for go live, so the beta site will have content missing and broken links etc and there may be some time prior to go live when it is not available.
So, a big thank you for helping us with this project so far, much appreciated, and your views have and will continue to play an important part in future development. We hope the new site reflects what people said they wanted from a council website.
What we launch with is a foundation on which to build. We know it might not be perfect, there will be things it does not yet provide and some content might not be in the most logical place. So, we would like to continue talking about what it might do in future and collect feedback on where we might not have got the content quite right. Each of the pages will have a ‘rate this page’ function so comments about whether it makes sense can be fed back that way.
We would like constructive feedback or suggestions for future developments, particularly about the ‘where I live’ section. Obviously, money is tight, and will be for a few years to come, so we need to make sure that what we do is what is needed by users. We can’t promise we will be able to do everything, but we want to carry on the discussion. Therefore please tell us what you think, good or bad.
One thing to note on the beta site – the tab on the home page entitled ‘Council and democracy’ is in the process of being changed to ‘Your council’ after your feedback. The data sets on the beta site will also be updated before the new site is launched.
We expect there will be questions about the new site and what will happen with the old site so we have provided some answers below.
If we have not answered your question then please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Why do we need a new website?
The existing site is not fit for purpose. The technology is failing, the search is slow, we cannot update in real time and we need a system that will allow further improvements to be added. The current site will not be able to do that.
Are we testing the website with users before launch?
A test site has been developed to give an impression of what the site will look like and do and we are releasing the beta site prior to the new site launch. Users have been involved throughout the project and seen demonstrations and build progress.
Who is deciding what the new content will be?
We have asked members of the public and businesses what they would like to see and do on a council website. Staff have also had the opportunity to contribute. We’ve also used site statistics to see what people were searching for and doing, and what they weren’t.
What will happen to the old site?
When the new site goes live, the old site will be switched off. Any links to applications or other sites will be transferred so there shouldn’t be any loss of service.
Are we going to ask what people think about the new site?
Definitely, each new page will have a rating tool allowing feedback. We will use this to identify where we might not have our content in the most logical place or where people don’t understand it. We will encourage feedback, and will use it to make improvements.
When the new site is launched, is that the end of development?
No. We will be regularly adding and updating information to keep the site fresh and useful. Work to make sure that we have one of the best council websites will continue and we want you to be part of that development.
After gathering the first requirements for leeds.gov we are now well in to the process of building them and designing the site. We have adopted Agile ways of working which has seen big changes in how we work together as a team and how we plan to develop all ICT projects in the council.
We will shortly be releasing the completed elements of the website for internal user testing. Very soon, a representative panel formed from members of the public and other volunteers, who contacted us through this forum, will also be assisting in user testing.
Please let us know if you would like to help us test the site by posting on this blog or emailing email@example.com with a brief explanation of why you would like to help and from what aspect you would be helping us to test from.
Currently we are working with the project managers and staff to plan what needs to happen next around user testing, prioritising new content for leeds.gov and helping to identify publishers.
We are looking at our current customer and staff web stats and feedback to help identify which areas of the site to write content for first and how to structure the site.
Our publishing patterns and statistics are also being used to help us make sure we have the right amount of publishers in the right places to manage the new content.
At the same time we are working on requirements for the new staff portal and lead officers have been nominated to help.
The project timescale is
- § Jan 2012 – website available to staff to use, test and provide feedback on
- § April 2012 – content input, additional functionality, more testing
- § June 2012 – go live
- Nov 2011 – workshops with staff to help inform priorities and timescales
- Dec 2011 – develop user stories/requirements
- Jan 2012 – begin building/testing the intranet
- April 2012 – content input and user testing
- June 2012 – go live
What are we doing?
We are working together to design and build a new website and staff portal so customers, staff and partners can interact more effectively together; they will find and share information they need when they need to and it will be easier to do business with us at a time that is convenient.
This will include:
- A new leeds.gov.uk
- A new staff portal (replacement for the current portal and intranet)
- A new search solution that will enable effective search on the website and for staff/members on the new staff portal. The improved search facility will allow staff to search across a diverse range of information sources internal to the council.
- New governance arrangements to manage content
- New web publishing arrangements using SharePoint 2010
- Business networking and more flexible working arrangements.
In addition, a web consolidation project will evaluate all sub-sites, web resources and spend relating to the our web presence.
The review will identify externally hosted sites and determine future use, now we have a new website.
Who has been involved in collecting requirements?
Staff and residents of Leeds have been invited to contribute to the project.
All staff were able to make suggestions on what the new staff portal and website should do.
A smaller group of staff, representing services across the organisation, was formed to help gather requirements and promote the project within their service areas.
Residents of Leeds and users of web services have also been asked to contribute ideas to what the project sees as ‘their website’. We used this forum to help capture requirements.
Our councillors have also assisted with collecting requirements by promoting the above forum and by contributing their views.
We hope this is a useful update.
The time has come to use your expertise to design leeds.gov.uk, we have published a tender opportunity on our existing site to find an agency who can work with us to help design the new leeds.gov.uk.
We are looking for someone to work with my team to design and produce initial concepts and layouts for the web pages and applications on the site.
As you know, one of the hardest tasks is to design a site for everyone and one of our main objectives is to provide our users with clear and concise content using a simple navigation to the top tasks available on the site.
If you are up for the challenge, please take a look at the tender… Good luck!
This is a really interesting site which I recommend highly!
Your Local Budget is a space to connect, understand and shape local budget decisions. In this project, you will hear from people who are shaping their local budgets and find new tools for giving individuals a direct and meaningful say in local spending decisions.
We believe greater public involvement is vital to ensuring that difficult decisions reflect the needs and circumstances of local people. We are working with local authorities across the country to explore how Participatory Budgeting can be used to harness local energy and generate public service innovation.