links for 2007-05-17

links for 2007-05-16

Why don’t civil servants blog?

One of the reasons I started writing here was to talk about some the issues I have been exploring as part of the Cabinet Office’s social media review.

Briefly, the review is examining how government currently makes use of social media, what the opportunities are and what role government should or could play in social media.

Creating an environment of permission in which civil servants can operate is a tricky one for government, there are few examples of Continue reading

The wonderful world of web 2.0

I was lucky enough to hear both Paul Kaplan and Mark McGuinness speak at an event last week (organised by CreateKX – thanks!) about the power of social media generally, and blogging in particular.

Paul spoke on a similar theme recently for GCN and once again his enthusiasm for the possibilities of the medium shone through. He’s also consulted for some government departments and agencies on the subject so you may be familiar with his work.

I hadn’t seen Mark speak before, though I had come across his blog. He gave a positive, but importantly measured, talk about how blogging has built his reputation and business.

They’re both worth listening to if you get the chance.

Mark has posted up a whole page of resources on his blog – slides from his presentation, must read books, on blogging, links to good examples of blogging, link to an article about the legal implications of blogging, and a good explanation of what RSS is all about. Well worth a read if you want to get some background info to all this stuff.

Paul has posted up his slides too together with a podcast of his talk.

Background to the Ministry of Justice website part 1

I promised to give you some detail about our new website, so here it is, part 1.
None of the team working on the Department of Constitutional Affairs website were involved in its initial development or design. While it was a big improvement on it’s predecessor its architecture was a problem for those of us who inherited it – the navigation pretty much mirrored the organisational structure at the time and as this changed over time due to machinery of government changes, the technical construction of the site made it difficult for us to reflect this in the navigation.

We had a pretty good idea who our primary audience is from user research and feedback – practitioners in the sectors we serve (especially legal professionals), but the media and researchers are also important groups for us.

Continue reading

Justice is served


Not perfect yet but we’re working on it. Will explain more about the site when I’ve had some sleep…

Posted by ShoZu

Been a busy weekend..

While others have been sunning (?) themselves and taking advantage of the bank holiday weekend, we have been in the office putting finishing touches to our new corporate website, due for launch on Wednesday. Its been a bit of a slog what with long hours and way too much coffee but we’re nearly done. Its a vast improvement on the current incarnation, both in visual look, quality of editorial and technical build.

Can’t wait to show the world (will they notice?).

Our new website

Screengrabs of our new corporate website pages building a site map on the wall of the office. Its coming together slowy but surely.

Posted by ShoZu

When site usage stats are really important…

We’re not brilliant at analyzing site user stats in our department for a number of reasons; we don’t really have the expertise for sophisticated drilling down into the data, we don’t have enough people to dedicate a single person to the job, we’re too busy keeping our sites afloat, when people higher up the food chain or in parliament ask us for information they invariably want to know how many ‘hits’ and how much it all cost.

We also have various commitments and undertakings as part of government to make information available online so in that context, how important are topline figures?

The answer today was ‘more important than anything else you are currently doing’. Right in the middle of preparing for the most important site launch my team has worked on in the last three years I received a request for information that cannot be ignored.

Although we regularly log and interrogate data for our main site, we don’t need to look at the stats for some of our smaller sites on quite such a frequent basis – until someone demands to know. So I spent a great chunk of today wrestling with our web statistics application trying to answer the question – and so avoid dragging any of the team away from more important activities.

Ho hum, all part of the service!

Building a new corporate web presence

I mentioned before that one of my current priorities is leading the creation of a new website for my department, who effectively cease to exist next week to be replaced by a new organisation with a wider remit.

Needless to say, things are exceedingly busy at the moment trying to get the functionality and content as perfect as possible for launch. So far its all going to plan but its going to be a busy weekend.

It’s a credit to the team that they have managed to produce the site within such a tight timetable and without (mostly) losing their sense of humour. There is still a lot to do, and there will a whole load of new challenges after site launches, but they have proved that they are more than capable in their respective areas of expertise.

Having set the scene, I’ll try and post more about the pre-launch period as the week (and weekend) unfolds.