Catherine, Head of Digital tells us about the new medway.gov.uk
What needed to be transformed and why?
Medway.gov.uk is our smart new website, supporting the council’s objective to be a digital council. The old medway.gov.uk just wasn’t up to that job. The design was outdated and wasn’t built to work intuitively on smartphones and tablets. The site navigation was structured more around our internal organisational hierarchy than logical customer-focussed groupings and was full of council jargon. The new website solves these problems and much better reflects our current goals.
What has happened?
Working with our colleagues across the council, we redeveloped the structure, design and information on the website to make it much easier to use and much more customer-focused.
Medway.gov.uk now has a modern look and a user-focussed site structure. We redesigned all of the top most-used areas of the site (the things we know customers use most or call us about) and changed the language so it’s much easier to understand.
More than one million users accessed medway.gov.uk through a smartphone or tablet in 2017, so we built the new site to work seamlessly on all devices, from smartphones to big TV screens.
We also built the new site on a new platform called a content management system, which gives us more modern and flexible functionality. With 50+ existing council customers on the same platform, we also get to benefit and share best practice with our peers.
We’ve been awarded three out of four stars as a digital council in this year’s Socitm Better Connected survey (the leading annual review of council websites across the country). Last year we scored one star – so this is a transformative improvement. The survey commended the website’s improved user experience which now includes mobile devices.
How have employees benefited from the change?
Information is now much easier to find, for colleagues and customers.
The site is a great foundation on which we are now building more services and transactions so customers can self-serve online, 24/7. Online services include applying for a resident parking permit, making a complaint and booking a stop smoking session.
We’re working with colleagues in services across the council to make sure medway.gov.uk stays up to date and relevant. We’ve created a platform which allows us to bring together other council sites currently outside of medway.gov, to make use of new technology and reduce costs.
What effect has the change had on our customers?
With the improvements we’ve put in place (jargon-free, logical structure, clear design), customers are now much more able to do business with the council online.
Our key design principle is to put the user at the heart of our work. Each week we test out new features with users, and we also collate feedback we receive from customers through the site to identify areas for improvement. We’re continuously improving and developing the site to meet the evolving needs of our customers.