It’s gone very quiet since we released the prototype of new.shropshre.gov.uk but rest assured we’ve been very busy. As well as adding some missing functionality, responding to feedback and fixing some pesky bugs we’re planning the next stages of the project and creating a repeatable process for the rest of shropshire.gov.uk.
In May Louise set up a computer in a couple of our libraries for the day and did some usability testing with some real life customers. We’ve gathered some excellent results and are using the findings to make the site easier to use. We have also had some positive feedback from customers who use screen readers, but are looking at ways of testing this more widely.
Our Get Satisfaction has been slowly filling up with feedback and we’ve been doing our best to respond as quickly as possible, we always want more so if you’ve got any thoughts, criticisms or even compliments please don’t be shy.
We’d like to say a big thank you to everyone who participated in the testing, we found it very useful and will definitely be doing it again soon.
We’ve used this project to give Umbraco content management system a road test and although we’re happy with the system the performance issues we’ve experienced with version 5 have been unsatisfactory. While the bugs are being resolved we’ve decided to shift our development efforts into version 4.7.2, and this, while the right choice, has led to some delays in getting started with the next phase of the project. Dale has written a more detailed blog post about the problems.
We’ve kicked off the next phase of the project and we’re in the early stages of working with our Waste Services team on the part of our website that deals with rubbish and recycling (so early we don’t even have a name for it yet). We’ve got some big plans for making it easier for citizens to find out where they can recycle a certain item and get updates about bin collections.
One of the key parts of the new shropshire.gov.uk will be much improved self service and we think that rubbish and recycling is a great topic to try this out on. Forms and transactions on a government site need to be easy to use and engaging so that we can encourage citizens to favour using our website (cheap) instead of the telephone (pricey) or ‘face to face’ (super expensive). So keep an eye out for further developments on that front.
We’re all thrilled with the progress we have made since we announced the project back in February and we’ve learnt a lot about working in the open in an agile way. We’ve made (and learnt from) some mistakes, had some successes and are looking forward to the next few months. One thing we could always be doing more of is blogging, so if there is something in particular you’d like to hear about please let us know.