Digital Agenda for Europe
A Europe 2020 Initiative

Challenges for developing a public sector website

Discussion

What are the major challenges for developing and maintaining an accessible public sector website and what are your suggestions to overcome these challenges?

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Comments

Bob Jones's picture

The biggest challenge for users is finding the information or services that they require. Many local administration sites are very cluttered and difficult to navigate. This is one of the key challenges developers should focus on resolving. National government web sites such as usa.gov and gov.uk are relatively good, even if their approach is a relatively bland hierarchical lists of services. Many local administrations could learn from this simple approach. Birmingham’s civic dashboard (civicdashboard.org.uk) is a fascinating tool to monitor service provision by location and time. It seems to be able to monitor services more easily than I can find them!
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Juan Pablo Laporte's picture

Developing and intuitive web page might be challenging. Concepts such as ‘Street Management’ , ‘Housing Income’ or ‘Fly-Tipping’ should be clarified or changed in order to facilitate citizen’s access to services. Carrying out focus group to get understanding about user’s opinions and the way they use public services web sites might be helpful.
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Sean Fallon's picture

I think the Government Digital Services (UK) design principles are the way forward for all public sector organizations. https://www.gov.uk/designprinciples We have been lucky enough in Dublin to have had Emer Coleman, formerly deputy head of citizen engagement at GDS, over to Dublin to present on this very subject and are determined to implement many of the GDS design principles ourselves.
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Baudouin De Sonis's picture

I would propose to have each PS websites using ALL existing communication channels and not only focusing on internet and well-known access modes, what about twitter? what about specializing access modes in accordance with the targetted user? i.e. you are addressing my gran mother as you are addressing my son ,
on the other hand users have to have their "say" on the set-up and the management of the site, there is more and more a lack of public concerns integration and solutions are pushed to the citizen "like or not"

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Paul Foley's picture

Emer left GDS in March this year and provided an interesting overview of what she had learned about government.  There are some interesting observations about silos, empires, risk and collaboration.  She concludes that government is hard.  A good reason to join the debate and attend the workshop!  See http://bit.ly/18W8TPt

 

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Paul Foley's picture

Baudouin, thanks.  This sounds like a heartfelt plea from your many years with eForum.  You've provoked me into developing a new theme for discussion about channels for delivery.  I'll make a few observations and pose a question shortly.

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Fergal Marrinan's picture

Biggest challenge is that there is not a holistic case for the website with the increasing proliferation of channels, devices and access software.

One sometimes appropriate approach is to back out to e.g. a personalised human service where catering for certain online functionality proves very difficult.

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Paul Foley's picture

Buadouin - I've posed a question about growing use in mobiel channels.  I'd welcome your views.

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Richard Potter's picture

While websites are very important ways of accessing public services, they are not the only way. Increasingly access will be through mobile devices. Information also needs to be provided when and how the user needs it - for example about public transport, travel, state of transportation systems etc.

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David Ringrose's picture

Baudouin,

Interesting point - we are trying with this site to bring together all our channels, which helps us see how each differs from or complements the other - Twitter for one purpose and audience, web pages for another, this platform for conversations like this one. The challenge here is not only to get all our colleagues to see the differences, but also to priorities resources - in an age of constrained budgets, can we put as much effort into LinkedIn as to Twitter? How to up our engagement rate on Facebook? etc.

But a great challenge, which is paying dividends in terms of understanding more clearly who these different audiences are.

Best

DR

David RINGROSE
Head of Communication Unit, DG CONNECT

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43 users have voted.