Jon Bounds has come up with another brilliant idea – using the ‘people powered customer support’ site GetSatisfaction to create a community around the services provided by Birmingham City Council.
So, I thought, could this work for a local council? Imagine time saved by council officials if knowledgeable citizens helped answer questions, imagine the resources available (once someone had explained how to apply for a licence, the information would be there for everyone), imagine a monolithic body “joining the conversation”.
Rather than deciding to attempt to persuade my local council (Birmingham City Council – one of the largest in the UK) that this would be a good idea, I discovered that – as the site is “a space for an open conversation between you and other people with interests and passions in this organization.” – anyone can set a company page up. So I have.
It ill be interesting to see whether the City Council gets involved. I guess it is like a Fix My Street but for all Council services. Might just have to make one for my local council in Kettering…
Paul Canning – challenged by Tom Watson to do so – has come up with ten things that need to be looked at as part of the government’s web strategy. His number one issue is ‘findability’:
Search is the prime route to content and is followed by links from other websites. How government addresses this is through newspaper ads – see DirectGov – or, slowly, very limited textads and rare banner ads. I’m not aware of any strategy which looks at how people find services or information in the real world online. Most pages are not optimised for search, most top results are by fluke rather than design and most links by legacy. All of that is and will continue to end – there is competition online. If they can’t find you, what’s the point?