E-Government Bulletin – Devon Feature

Thanks to Dave Briggs who spotted this one and kindly pointed out to me that the eGovernment bulletin had ran with a story after a conversation i had with them last week.

01: Devon Website To Build On Redbridge ‘Web 2.0’ Approach.

Devon County Council is to follow the London Borough of Redbridge in launching a new website this autumn that is entirely customisable and based on ‘web 2.0’ principles, E-Government Bulletin has learned.

“At the moment our website is pretty static, it tells you what we decide we want to tell you,” says Carl Haggerty, web innovations, new media and portal manager at Devon. “The new design will allow people to pick and mix what they want on our home page, using modules, widgets and gadgets – whatever you want to call them.”

The concept is based partly on Redbridge’s widely acclaimed and award-winning Facebook-style website, a local government first, but blends in ideas from the BBC’s website, Haggerty says.

“You will be able to add or take stuff away from the home page, but like the BBC’s home page, we will have a large fixed area for promotions where we can put information about current marketing campaigns such as tourism campaigns.”

The redesign has been prompted partly by increasing demand from departments for space on the home page and partly to allow the site to focus more on locally-based content – information relating to people’s home village and towns, Haggerty says. “As a county site, we have been battling with information management for a while that enables us to deliver it by local community”.

The website is based on the ‘Livelink’ content management system supplied by Open Text, with the new modular features developed by an in-house team, Haggerty says. The developments will be added in phases, with the first phase due for launch by October.

The county’s long-term plan is to make the entire website completely customisable, with any piece of content displayable on any page, Haggerty says. “We want to work towards a front-end completely separated from the back-end, so the site can be one big collection of mash-ups,” he says. Other aims include to make the content platform-independent so it could be delivered directly into other websites such as Facebook and Bebo; and allowing external services such as DirectGov services to be woven seamlessly into the site.

NOTE: Carl Haggerty from Devon is to address a ‘Web 2.0’ workshop at ‘Building the perfect council website’, the 16 July event hosted by Headstar and E-Government Bulletin with Socitm. To register see:
http://www.headstar-events.com/council08

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