Archive for the ‘ egovernment ’ Category

At the GC expo today

Spent an entertaining few hours today at GC expo. The show is mainly for IT bods rather than webbies but there were a few creative design and build agencies there who were good to make contact with, suppliers such as Adobe were demonstrating how to make the most of their products and there were some interesting presentations – such as Francis Irving from My Society and Paul Hodgkin of Patient Opinion talking about online citizen engagement.

After lunch I took part in a workshop exploring how public services could be reengineered around the customer. This was supported by some insightful observational video of five families experiencing public services in real scenarios. Fascinating stuff and stimulating discussion around improving the minefield that citizens often find themselves in when negotiating the myriad of frontline service providers. Called The Public Office, I recommend visiting the website to view the videos and the supporting information. No doubt you will hear more of this in the near future.

Website rationalisation – its all a bit tricky

You may recall the announcement last January that the government was to close a good chunk of ‘.gov’ websites to improve both customer experience (by shifting content/online services into DirectGov or Businesslink) and efficiency (by reducing each department’s website support and development costs).

Conceptually this is pretty much a no brainer – most people accept that DirectGov/ Businesslink has visitor traffic that their servers could only dream about trying to support, and there are many sites out there (one estimate puts the total number at over 2000 but who really knows…) which could benefit from tighter control, consistency of presentation etc to ensure the user experience is better and the content up to date. Continue reading

What should web management in whitehall look like?

At the government heads of ecommunications meeting on Tuesday – a regular get together of leaders of web teams across the government departments and some of the major agencies. Always a good chance to catch up, hear from guest speakers, and share experiences.

The main business yesterday was a lively workshop session about how we manage all our digital publication work (one department is assessing its resources and skills sets and wanted to pick the brains about everyone else’s set up).

Website rationalisation is preying heavily on everybody’s minds at the moment (this is the programme of work to close down the majority of ‘.gov.uk’ websites and migrate the existing content and online services into Direct Gov, Businesslink or sponsoring department’s corporate websites depending on the intended audience) and its making us all reassess how we conduct our business, what skills we are going to need in our teams, and how we will manage digital publishing in future. Continue reading

Search engine optimisation and search marketing

Been sweating over writing a few articles in the last few days but can’t seem to summon up the inspiration to complete them – website rationalisation and more thoughts on consultation will have to wait for another day – when along comes Paul Canning with an excellent article about the importance of search marketing for government and where DirectGov is getting it wrong. An essential read.

I’m no expert on search marketing. I understand the basics but we don’t spend money on paid for search in my department. What we do, and are very good at, is natural search – also known as search engine optimisation. This the art of ensuring your keywords, descriptions, metatags and content are optimised so that people can find your content easily – and so your content is ranked higher by Google et al (note: lack of technical skill ensures this is a Mickey Mouse description, please don’t heckle..). Continue reading

Talking about the power of information

A late invitation arrived today from the Ideal Government folk to come to what turned out to be a fascinating evening discussing the democratisation of information and how government might participate in the online social media world.

Around the table were a sprinkling of policy officials, technologists and representatives from organisations who work with government to deliver its IT. Without divulging too much (the event was conducted under Chatham House rules (or rule) and discussed work whose conclusions haven’t all yet been announced) the thoughts aired included: Continue reading