Getting the web the way we want it
Our Friday computer club session at Gillespie Crescent Edinburgh, took a bit longer to get going this week with the added interest of a visit from Janet Johnston, Customer Experience Manager from City of Edinburgh Council. Also it was good to welcome Fiona from the Viewpoint at Colinton and and Margaret from Lynedoch Place. Janet was very patient though and helped us on to the draft Council web pages, inviting us to have a browse around before trying out some tasks. We needed reminders at various points that this was a simulated site and not the real one as it made folk aware that there was other information about council services that they wanted to find out but had never thought of looking up online! “See if you can find out where to get a red recycling bin” asks Janet. “But I’d rather find out about the green bins!” Other tasks followed such as finding out how to make a complaint to the council, looking up our local councillor and how to register to pay council tax. Some club members had to be reassured that it was the council website on test, not their web skills!
I was reminded of the variety of ways folk go about finding things online e.g. relying on the search box within a website (or going back to google) rather than the menu system and links on a page – and how versatile a customer-focussed website has to be as a result. Also some of the comments indicated how interesting and informative a web trail can end up being. “I never knew there were so many Councillors”! “So can broken glass be put somewhere for recycling?” On the whole, our group found the draft pages did help us to get the information we were looking for in a few clicks. I’m sure there’ll be a few more folk who’ll think again before picking up the phone next time they have a query to do with council services. All credit to folk like Janet and the Edinburgh Council web team for being so ‘customer focussed’ and helping to make a reality of “digital by default”.