#Localgov Digital Free Usability Dashboard – Beta

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I really do love seeing the informal collaboration that LocalGov Digital has built up to deliver outputs through voluntary involvement from practitioners from across the sector.

This time around we are please to announce the launch of a beta usability dashboard, enabling councils and webteams to gather additional levels of evidence and data to inform their design and development.

All the hardwork and development was done by Simon Gray from Birmingham City Council. As a group we simply helped support him, test and identify ways in which others councils could also use the tool to help them improve their websites.

Full details of the dashboard and the link can be found on the LocalGov Digital website.

Is text only still relevant?

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This isn’t going to be a long post, as I don’t really have any answers…just a series of questions and assumptions…

My question is how relevant is a Text Only version of a website?

There maybe an obvious answer to this – Is this simply an admission that your website by default isn’t actually usable and accessible?

I’ve been thinking and chatting to my team about content strategy, user experience,  HTML 5 and responsive design and how this will change the way we think and design websites from the ground up…It is all very exciting but we also need to think the now, how do we build stuff today and what should we be including.

In Devon, our current corporate website has a text only version and if I’m honest I think it is a pretty poor presentation of the content and fails to really offer any advantage…and if we have simply designed a usable and accessible site all along we probably wouldn’t think about text only…

Our stats show that the text only version isn’t used much, if at all on most days…so this brings me back to the question…How relevant is Text Only?

It’s a matter of perspective – Bear with me!

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A few weeks back i attended a Speed Awareness Course, and learnt huge amounts about Road Safety and will certainly mind my speed from now on. After all there is no excuse i can think of that i would be happy to hear if someone hit my kids or my family through speeding.

Anyway, as a group we watched a very good video, which i am going to share with you. BUT i want you to consider the topic of usability or websites and services – i know a big change from road safety but the video will highlight some interesting points.

Now you must follow the instructions on the video for the effect to be realised.

The great thing about this for me is that, it just goes to show that even a few extra people to view your site, services or product, will benefit the usability. If you are measuring or testing your own stuff, without any external perspective even from other people in your organisation – you will – like the video only be looking at the white team. You will miss the Bear.

If you are interested in finding out more about usability for public sector websites then i suggest you check out – Public Sector Web Usability Boot Camp: One Day to Better Usability. I am unable to attend, but it looks like such a great day and i look forward to catching up via the #psfbuzz tag on twitter.

PLEASE NOTE: I am not on commission, I just think this is a good event about usability, there are other events and organisations who provide usability training and awareness and a search in google will provide you with many options.