My digital journey through Brighton & Hove City Council

Today is my last day managing the Digital Communications Team at Brighton & Hove City Council. As I move on to pastures new, I’ve been reflecting on the two years I’ve spent working here.

The digital landscape is constantly changing, as is the way that residents want to interact with the council.

Customer First in a Digital Age

This change is something the council have been addressing through the Customer First in a Digital Age (CFDA) programme, and it’s been a key part of what I’ve been involved in. I’ve been proud to lead a talented and passionate UX (user experience) and content team, who are striving to improve the council’s digital offering to the residents and businesses of the city.

Some of the changes I’ve been involved in delivering include:

Moving on

As the Digital Communications Team and the CFDA programme move forward and I move on, I’m confident this digital customer focus will only increase, and that the team will continue to deliver digital experiences that are truly user focused.

Ben Hills-Jones, signing off for the last time….

 

Today’s website show and tell

Hi, I’m Will and I’m new to the council’s Digital team. I’ve been here a couple of weeks looking at our offering to businesses big and small across to the city. More to follow when my feet are properly under the table.

I’ve just emerged from a packed 4th floor meeting room at Bartholomew’s House where we held today’s show and tell about the council’s beta website. You can find out more about the beta website in our earlier blogpost.

Ben and Thomas talked about the reasons for launching a beta, the design patterns developed by Clearleft (which look great!) and a new analytics tool, Hotjar, that will help the team take its understanding of the site’s users to new heights. I’ll leave it to Thomas to share more details.

Beta Hotjar show and tell

Did I mention the turnout? Standing room only – as you can see from the photo above.

Thanks Annie for organising and the invite. If you work for the council and would like to attend a future show and tell, or have an idea for one, please post in the comments.

A new beta website for Brighton & Hove City Council

As part of the work we’re doing to transform our digital services, we’re looking at the current Brighton & Hove City Council website.

The site has over 5,000 pages and can sometimes be difficult to navigate and find what you’re looking for. Some of the pages are also too long and not written clearly enough.

Improving the user experience

To improve the experience for our users, we’ve been looking at:

  • the number of pages on the site
  • the sections of the site
  • the navigation around the site
  • the analytics about how people use the site
  • the content that’s on the pages, and
  • the design of the site.

We want to create a new website for the city of Brighton & Hove which is:

  • well written, using plain English
  • task-focused
  • user-focused
  • transactional (allowing users to self serve online)
  • simple to navigate, and
  • accessible on a range of browsers and mobile devices.

    Our new beta website
    Our new beta website

As part of this development of a new website, we’ve launched a new ‘beta’ website.

What is a beta website?

GOV.UK state that “The ‘beta’ label means you’re looking at the first version of a new service or web page”.

To create this beta site, we worked with a local agency to conceive a new design.

The design is based on the concept of ‘patterns’. Patterns are a repeatable solution to commonly occurring issues, tasks or functions that can reused across multiple sites.

Our patterns will be used across a variety of sites and other digital channels, such as the new ‘My Account’ site.

The new site is a work in progress, and currently only has limited content.

Over the coming months we will start to create more content on the new site.

Tell us what you think….

We’re always keen to hear what you think, so please either: