Untangling a web of content

HQ Digital has an ambition (well, we have many ambitions), one of which is to redesign the Bucks CC website, starting with the top user needs.

This task will not be easy and it will take some time.  It requires careful planning and a lot of consideration.  After making a good start, we needed some help.

Where it began

Not long after I joined the Digital team at Bucks, I started looking at the website in its entirety.  Not only was I looking at the pages, the content and the structure, I looked into the analytics of the pages and typical user journeys.  It became clear that there were many areas which had room for improvement.

Not only is there a need to ensure the text and content on the pages is clear, it is also important that the look and feel of the web pages is meeting user needs.  This is when templates for web pages need to be carefully designed.  At the moment we have two templates for the whole website, which is not meeting requirements. We are therefore also in the process of several having templates designed, to meet the specific needs of a topic area or element of a page.

Tasks, not pages

Instead of picking areas at random to improve, as there are so many, we needed some way to sort content areas.  I established the tasks that a user was trying to achieve while looking at the website.

After looking at analytics from Google Analytics as well as SiteImprove, I was able to build up a picture of what the top tasks were for the website. I started by looking at the order of the top pages, and then grouped these into areas and tasks.  This required the use of a spreadsheet.   From approximately 250 webpages, I ended up with a stripped back list of 25 top tasks.

blog - Excel and GA

In order to work out a plan to redesign the top user needs on our website, we needed a little help.

Introducing… Sarah Richards

Sarah Richards

Sarah Richards

The HQ Digital Content Team gathered together on Monday with a purpose.  Matthew had invited Sarah Richards to spend the day with us.  Sarah previously product managed the GOV.UK style guide, and also led digital transformation at Citizens Advice.  To find out more about Sarah and read her blog visit sarahjrichards.com.

Sarah talked us through how best to approach this project.  We walked through the top 25 user tasks; starting with those we had deemed the least complex.  We considered whether or not a task would require a Discovery session, and how long we estimated a redesign on a section would take.

In the afternoon we went onto the more complex tasks.  These required more consideration, of what would need to be done differently in order to redesign these areas.

Our Plan

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In a truly agile fashion, we were using sticky notes to document our tasks and findings.  Once we had each of the tasks on a sticky note, we put them down on paper, into a timeline.

The top row were small, bite sized areas which could be picked up at any possible time.

The second row were the big areas.  Often these would require a Discovery session, to find out more about user needs and service requirements.  These areas would take longer to do, and so had larger spaces between them.

The pink notes were items that we needed to go away and find out, or where we were relying on other tasks such as designs of new templates.

By the end of the day we had the beginnings of a six month plan in place.  The once seemingly mammoth task suddenly didn’t look quite so big.  It became achievable and it was doable.

What’s next?

We are going to be pretty busy for the next six months, making the website better.    We will be in touch with the services who will be involved with the first stages of this plan.

If you’d like to support us, we are looking for users to help us test the website.  You can sign up to test our digital services online.

We are committed to continual improvement of our website and intranet.  If you find any page that requires updating or improving, please click the ‘Is there anything wrong with this page?’ link at the end of the web page.

If you’d like to know more about what we’re up to, please do get in touch with the HQ Digital team,  webcontent@buckscc.gov.uk

 

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One thought on “Untangling a web of content

  1. Sarah this looks like a really an excellent way to to reduce complexity and in turn make the website less over overwhelming. Perhaps this could be a task we do when looking at the intranet

    Like

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