Buckinghamshire Council Website: weeknotes w/c 30/11/20

There’s been a lot of change at Bucks over the last few months. The main news:

  • Our Product Owner, and Head of Digital, Ben Unsworth took up a new job in Essex.
  • Our Lead Designer, Boris Divjak, took up a new job in Australia.
  • We now have a new PO and Head of Digital, Pete Parfitt, moving across from a previous role in the council.
  • We now have a new Designer, Sarah Morice, who is also new to us at Unboxed.

In amongst all this, weeknotes got lost in the shuffle a bit, but videos of our show and tells are all up on YouTube. The most recent ones being:

Over the autumn we made some decisions on how we were going to use agency time for the remainder of the budget. As a result of this we made a couple of changes to improve our focus, as the team felt we were getting spread a little too thin between all of the things we wanted to do. Over the last few months we have been working on:

Improving our search results

User satisfaction for search has been quite poor with pages not being returned that people would expect, and lots of search terms leading to no results at all. We’ve done quite a bit of work to improve this, with the biggest change being the implementation of elastic search and our tests are giving much more accurate search results. You can find out more about how this works in one of our show and tell videos.

Progressing our work around long form content

Like most council sites we will be required to publish lots of policies, strategies etc. It’s hard to keep these accessible and very often they become pdf’s. We’ve been working with a couple of teams across the council to design page templates to better support this content. As part of this, we’re also developing new Word templates with the relevant styling implemented so that people creating long form content can get a better idea of how it will look once published. This should also make it a lot easier for site content editors to upload policies as it will have been written with the site format in mind.

Updating content for the Family Information Service

This deserves a blog of its own, but we are continuing our work to update and rewrite content for the Family Information Service. It hasn’t always been smooth sailing as we’ve had to build bridges with the service team who are understandably both passionate and protective about their existing content. Progress has been good however and we’ve created some additional page templates to take into account some specifics about their content. Next up — reduce content duplication elsewhere by linking towards the Family Information Service content.

Prioritising remaining content for migration

For the most part, content will be migrated from the old sites to the new in line with the wider service improvement work being done across the council. For some content it makes sense for it to be bumped up the priority order a bit, e.g. for specific user journeys within a service, like checking bin collection dates. We did some analysis of site stats and contact centre call volumes to feed into this and as a result will be prioritising. We spoke more about our methodology at one of our recent show and tells.

Schema.org tagging

A final note is that we’re continuing with our work to implement schema.org tags across the site. Our most recent additions are organisation details and jobs tags, meaning that details of jobs from our recruitment site now appear in search results.

A screenshot showing how job listings display on the Google search results page

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Blog posts from the team who are creating digital services for the Buckinghamshire Council

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Tom Harrison

Tom Harrison

Senior Delivery Manager at Unboxed

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