Weeknotes 8-12 July

Now that has gone live and people can relax a little bit (only a little mind, there’s still plenty to do) a few members of the team have taken the chance for a much-deserved break.

As that includes John I’ve been given the honour of pulling this together. So if the update seems to be lacking that usual sparkle of wit and sophistication you know who to blame...


Caroline M has spent the week working on an audit of our Umbraco microsites, which describes the functionality each site has. She also gave Magda and I an overview of SiteImprove, a nifty tool which allows us to identify any web pages where the content isn’t up to scratch and what improvements can be made.

John & Sheila also debuted their Content Design Workshop on Wednesday to the Web Team, with a masterclass on how to write clear, accessible online content.

Hannah published the new and improved Trading Standards consumer content and is now into discovery on the content for businesses.  Caroline A has been continuing with redesign of planning and development content, looking at sustainable travel and our role in planning.

User Research

Now that the website is live, Magda and the rest of the User Research Team are starting to look at the education pages of the website, with a closer look at -School Transport Application and Find a Childcare Provider as a starting point. This week was about focusing on planning the recruitment, with Ben & Georgi set to brave the baby and toddler clubs in Chelmsford Library next week to ask parents if they are interested in giving us feedback on childcare and schools services.

As we said last week recruitment can be a tricky task, and we need to use all the possible ways that are available to us to reach our target audience.

The approach is to address parents from the general public and Essex staff through:

  • Direct message on targeted web pages - catch users as they read relevant content
  • Parents who just submitted School Transport Application - catch users just after the experience
  • Parents who are looking at the childcare finder – catch user as they are engaging with a tool
  • Panel users – look through our panel members to see who fits the criteria
  • F2F recruit at local library where there are new burn clubs and a family hub- catch users who most likely have not yet looked at those services but will look at a near future.
  • One news and on Yammer - approach parents from across ECC staff via internal channels of comms
  • Twitter and Facebook pages- parents from the public who engage with the county’s social media channels and approach specific Facebook pages run by parents who could potentially post a message for us.

Service Design

This week Bhupinder, Georgi, Ben and Nic have spent a lot of time working through the synthesis of Content Designer interviews, which was a great opportunity to practice crafting insightful insights (a harder task than they had originally appreciated)!

As this involves writing guidelines for how best to create or reimagine user journeys for council services, they wanted to test whether the guidelines they had mocked up (for creating journeys for ‘checking something’) were useful to content designers. They spent more than a day synthesising the findings, sorting observations into different categories and pulling out insights which they played back to Collette to validate.

Bhupinder also attended the final day of the Transformation Academy in Ipswich, where the North East Essex team she’s part of presented back their proposal for a 100-day plan. This is hopefully one step closer to securing £50k for the project which is focused on community engagement.

Nic and Vicki have been preparing for a Futures Academy leadership session that will be run next week, showcasing our service design approach and building understanding with leaders from across the organisation.

Team Highlight

The Content Design Workshop John & Sheila presented, hopefully the first of many as we ‘spread the love’ (in the words of Matt) to the rest of the organisation on all the great ways they can make their online services better for Essex residents.

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