The decent council website – top 5 so far

There has been a great response to the What makes for a decent council website? experiment.

Here’s the top 5 at the end of the first day:

  1. Plain english – Jargon and acronyms should be kept to the absolute minimum, or if they must exist, they should be metatagged with common english counterparts eg. Penalty Charge Notice should be crossindexed with parking fine and parking ticket.
  2. Services not portals – Services that poke you when something of interest happens and help you sort something out when you are annoyed. Council websites should not be destinations/portals.
  3. A home page that gets you to where you want to go quickly – The home page should have a list of links that cover the main user tasks, as well as allowing the user to search by keyword, subject area, and offer predictive results as they type.
  4. Test the site before launch – This should be a no-brainer, but sadly it appears not to be. Yes there will always be problems no matter how much testing is done, but NEVER launch a site without ensuring that the majority of links work and that most of the pages contain content.
  5. Have people that respond to users’ suggestions – Use to collect problems and suggestions in one place. Then have people employed to answer them, and engage in a conversation about the most interesting ones.

So, some good stuff, and there are even more ideas on the site. Keep them coming!

I’ll keep the site open til the 20th September, after which I will cobble all the thoughts together, along with comments and votes into a document everyone can share.

11 thoughts on “The decent council website – top 5 so far”

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  2. Suggested addition: don’t treat the website as a finished project when launched. That can be tendency (“big project done, cross that off the list, move on to next thing”). Launching/relaunching a site is only one stage – even if it is a big stage – in what should be an ongoing process. Think of it like collecting Council Tax: the department which does that doesn’t just go home for the year after it’s sent out the bills in the Spring.

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