What’s good for the Goose is good for the…..

Peter Parfitt
Jan 7 · 4 min read

Or why what’s good for content editors is good for residents

Two people review figures on a calculator. One appears to be giving advice to the other who receives it with a smile.
Campaign Template Image Highlighting our work with #backontrack

So we’ve been busy in the run up to Xmas (and afterwards) launching a new Revs and Bens customer portal and it’s supporting content and coming up with ways to make Highways Infrastructure Projects more accessible and engaging for our residents, but I had another idea. As one year wound down and the next wound up our bi-weekly show and tell touched on one of the traditions of any end of year presentation, that of a top ten.

We’ve been busy delivering a lot of new services and have made huge advancements in the delivery of User Centred content for Buckinghamshire residents. So I challenged the team to give me their two ‘favourite’ features or services we have put live this year.

We had a lot to choose from, an exemplar for planning and building control content was definitely the largest project we tackled and client transport probably the most complex with its interplay with school admissions and SEND.

We launched a campaign template that allowed us to be a little more creative with time limited communications. We also built a really elegant solution for finding which legacy district you lived in from your postcode (including edge cases where a single postcode spans two districts).

We even launched two new directory services for our Family Information Service team and Adult Social Care built using the Open Referral UK data standards.

A screengrab from Buckinghamshire’s Family Information Service for illustrative purposes only
A screengrab from Buckinghamshire’s Family Information Service for illustrative purposes only
Buckinghamshire Family Information Service website homepage

So it was interesting to see what made it into the top three.

At three we had our preproduction server, essentially a way of making changes to Wagtail in an environment that then allowed us to distribute links to service users that they could interact with, a staging environment for content if you like, with a simple one touch process to push that content live. Seems like a simple thing, but service users, and particularly content editors loved it.

At two was our Design System, a great piece of work authored by Laura at Unboxed. It’s aims were threefold

to collect guidance, methods and good practice for designing the Bucks website, based on what we’ve learnt from this project so far

make it easier for everyone to understand how to create great user experience online

and create a consistent starting point for anyone planning, designing or reviewing content

It sits alongside and also overarches the guidance that we currently publish around writing styles and will build into a large publicly available resource that will detail content patterns and how to use them as well as guidance on content lifecycles and design methods. This will ensure we create a consistent and best in class experience for our residents, whenever we come to tackle their content of interest.

And coming in at number one was our implementation of the GOV.UK step-by-step pattern, a great way of creating content that presents complex journeys and services. This will allow us to bring together content from multiple service areas and which will help provide a reference point for interactions that span a longer period of time. We’re also trialling having a product owner for those step-by-step journeys in the digital team, effectively a single point of contact across multiple services responsible for that complex online journey.

This got me to thinking though, two of the three were effectively ‘internal tools’ that would benefit the Bucks Digital team the most, so what use were they to residents. Where was our user centred focus.

But then I got to thinking a little more and its obvious that these tools will also help our residents and in fact quality assurance and a consistent approach to content will enable us to produce the very best version of www.buckinghamshire.gov.uk that we can, and surely that is the best outcome for residents.

A consistent approach will surely lead to more engaged users and deliver on our vision.

So it appears happy content editors equals happy users and with that have a great weekend.

Buckinghamshire Digital Service

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