a Concept for Devon Online – version 1

This is a work in progress and I welcome any thoughts ideas or references which would help me steer this concept in the right direction.

A pan Devon website which provides up-to-date information that enriches the experience of people who live in and visit the county. It would aim to be the number one online information resource for the County of Devon!

It would deliver value through:

  • Facilitating information exchange – Devon to Devon, Devon to the world
  • Supporting and encouraging online participation and e-democracy
  • Being demand and service focused – one stop shop to local and national public services
  • Encouraging Trust – Brand recognition, validity and reliability of content
  • Ensuring aggregation – reusing existing content and services where practical and possible

The site will be focus around 4 broad customer groups:

  1. Resident – Access to services and information
  2. Business – Economy and enterprise, services and information
  3. Community – Engagement and participation, connecting people and communities
  4. Visitor – Showcasing and Discovering Devon

It is important to note that these areas are to guide the development and to focus the information and service provision, however the site will be fully customiseable and therefore this “structure” is to assist with an organisational content repository.

Resident – Access to local council services 24/7
It would;

  • give access to all council services in Devon, with relevant links to national services such as TV licensing and Car Tax via directgov (Web services)
  • be reliable, trusted and contain up to date local information
  • provide useful features for residents, such as entertainment and activities, things to see and do, maps, driving directions, local news and weather
  • focus on fresh information such as cultural activities, TV and movie guides and local events, all updated daily (links with Existing TV listings)
  • ensure it provided an easy to use and simple layout and navigation
  • provide access to in-depth information and statistics about Devon and it’s market and coastal towns
  • Foster and support a user, customer, and commercially focussed culture within ourdevon and its partners
  • Use tagging and Mashups to aggregate local content and links

Business – Local economy, enterprise and advice
It would provide and support:

  • advertising space for local Devon based businesses, complimented by various emarketing activities and services
  • opportunities through the Devon Community Directory to promote groups and businesses in Devon with free community webpages facility
  • give access to all council business services and provide links to businesslink.gov services
  • provide a gateway to the countywide procurement portal for tenders
  • provide a gateway for investors to obtain key information and statistics
  • provide a gateway for employment and job opportunities in the county

Community – Engagement , participation and connecting people
It would provide and support

  • a local consultation and engagement portal supporting eDemocracy
  • opportunities to submit ePetitions
  • Participation through Issues Forums: Next generation online forums and facilitation
  • Promote communities in action
  • “Citizen” and Community Life Blogging
  • Promote pride of place through
  • Digital photography
  • Placeblogging and Community Blogospheres
  • Podcasting
  • Video Blogging
  • Community and group collaboration
  • Online Social Spaces
  • Online Community Calendars
  • Online Council events and webcasting of local meetings
  • Online engagement tools for community groups and local government

Visitor – Showcasing and Discovering Devon
It would

  • provide tourism information such as events, things to see and do and accommodation
  • support the existing Discover Devon theme based approach for example, cycling, walking, food, natural Devon etc
  • provide opportunities for Devon people to show what they do
  • promote the extraordinary wealth of culture and diversity within the county
  • support the Devon brand – shifting perceptions concept

Outline Architecture

The architecture needs to support the separation of the “backoffice” and the “presentation layer”. This enables the delivery of widgets/mash-ups etc from locations outside of the main council platform to be integrated more effectively and within the overall style and design of the main site.

The basic principle is that the site is a hybrid mix of mash-ups and standard text and services.

outline architecture model

The following represents the broad tools that are shaping my thinking in terms of functionality and user interaction:

  • Blogs—each member can have their own blog, and blog entries can be aggregated into collective views (e.g., most recent posts, most active contributors, highest rated posts, etc.)
  • Microblogging—users will be able to share there thoughts and ideas, as well as receiving updates from others about important information linked via SMS
  • Discussions—create threaded discussion forums where members reply to posts from other members
  • Wikis—a post from one member can be edited by another member, maintaining version and author history
  • Videos—upload and share videos
  • Photos—upload photos, embed images in posts, create photo albums
  • Calendars—mark events and posts on a personal or group calendar
  • Tagging—members can “tag” content to allow other members to find that content via “tag clouds.”
  • Mapping—apply “geo tags” to display content or member location on a map
  • RSS feeds—use RSS to incorporate content from external sources, or create RSS feeds to syndicate content to other sources and users
  • Podcasts—upload and syndicate podcasts
  • Bookmarks—mark and share URLS with other members
  • Voting & Rating—vote on content and aggregate the results
  • Status-members can update the community and their friends on what they are doing

Any thoughts or comments welcome


5 thoughts on “a Concept for Devon Online – version 1

  1. Hi Carl

    This is really interesting. One thing a portal such as this is capable of is bringing together all the operators in a local civic society. I wrote a bit about these ideas here.

  2. Thanks Dave, The idea is to create a local portal that can be truly local. The key looking at Gerry McGovern’s 5 top things is to put the council in the background helping to facilitate and to include services only when they are needed, just like real life. For those who need them more prominent they can be through the customisation features.

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