Saturday, July 19, 2008

Do people want the same things from council, state and federal government websites?

The UK recently held its annual seminar on How to build the perfect council website.

This discussed strategic approaches to egovernment at a local level and provided key insights into what local residents needed and expected from their councils and shires.

Carl Haggerty of Devon County Council, one of the presenters, has provided a synopsis of his observations and thoughts from the event in a post titled Thoughts on a “perfect council website”.

Reading his post, I do not see enormous differences between what it appears people want from local councils and what they want from state and Federal agencies;
  • Get rid of those damn press releases (who the heck reads them).
  • Stop the political messages (Our Leader).
  • Nobody cares for this stuff, they are task focused and don’t have much time.
  • We already take their money and if we take even more of there time we will only create more frustrated citizens and visitors.
  • Delete most of your content as nobody reads or even maintains the stuff.
  • 80% of web management is observing behaviour.
  • Do the tasks your customers do and experience the “journey” yourself.
  • Personalisation doesn’t work, most people don’t want to do it - interesting considering i was on the panel about web 2.0 techniques with “Steve Johnson” from Redbridge and “Suraj Kiki” founder of Jadu CMS, more on this later)
  • Start with your top tasks and get them on your homepage to stop people having to search for them.
  • Don’t force “corporate” crap at your customers, they don’t really care
Presentations from the 2007 seminar are available online and I am hopeful that the 2008 presentations will be as well soon.

1 comment:

  1. I think a large part of this depends on the level of transaction your site needs to have. If it's a place people go to pay bills, or a place people go to find out how to pay bills the user experience is going to be vastly different.

    As for getting rid of those 'damn press releases' it depends on how the council of central government agency is distributing their news - a lot of them don't have rss/atom feeds in place. I'd suggest there's still a market for the general public - my @hmgov twitter feed gets quite a few clicks and @downingstreet has in excess of 2,000 followers. Perhaps the trick is to integrate these types of services into the corporate site.