Joined up to Mashed up

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Joined Up Government  – what does that really mean?  I know what it implies, that we are all disconnected and need something to bring us together…

In it’s most basic format and in the web context, i would say that it includes a “deep link” from my site directly to content or services in another site, instead of there homepage. We will all recognise that as common sense, wouldn’t we?

As part of the work i am doing in my council to redevelop and redesign the public facing website – i have proposed a new website framework moving us toward a “mashed-up” future.  Joined up will still play a role, but in a different context. Deep links will no longer mean the same thing and it will be moving us toward a platform that can deliver the content you want directly to your personalised web front end or in my example the council’s web framework (or homepage)

OR we could open the applications/content/services up to 3rd parties who would also be able to deliver them into personalised web front ends or their websites

My view is that, i need to ensure that my councils online services and information is accessible and deliverable in as many formats and medium as possible.  I also need to ensure that we are efficient and effective and provide a professional service.

Joining up with other councils creates a relationship and a reliance that is not always supported or sustainable. It also creates a forced structure on how we should join up information and services, putting increasing pressure on us to get these links right in the first place.  WHY? because we want our citizens to have a great online experience……that does however assume that i know what these citizens are after, each and every single one of them.

When i last checked our web stats (we use Google), we had just under 300,000 visits for May and 305,000 visits for June (not bad for public sector websites), so who are these people and what do they all want to do on the site.

This was causing my head to turn around and i have always been puzzled as to the real validity of web stats, but i see the value and i saw an opportunity.

Don’t build a single website to meet all of the individual expectations, provide a platform for all of individuals to create their own experience and providing our services and information are useful and usable and good or even great online experience.

This is how people seem to be using social networks to create an individual view. The public sector can learn a huge amount from this approach.

We first have to get past the need to deliver non -critical information to our citizens but information we are judged on in terms of communications, performance and reputation. Still some work to do, but we have started the journey none the less.

2 thoughts on “Joined up to Mashed up

  1. I know my blog is significantly less sophisticated than the type of web site are developing for your council, but one of the most useful features I found from looking at Google generated statistics was tracking what new and repeat users do when they arrived. That resulted in my structuring the content to accommodate that there are multiple pages being used as primary entry points and I needed to provide a coherent experience for everyone hitting one of these “front pages” for the first time.

    Another thing about web site usage I found was based on my using StumbleUpon for a while — it absolutely convinced me of the need to provide a coherent, quickly-communicated message about what the web site was about for someone seeing the front page for the first time. Too many web sites provide a confused message or no message at all.

  2. carlhaggerty

    Thanks Dennis,

    I haven’t used stumbleupon, so will check it out and see what i learn.

    I agree with the mixed or confused messages most websites create, my view is that they are unsure who they are really serving online.

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