Test drive the Medway Council website in beta

SimonGeneral4 Comments

We’ve been working on the project to relaunch the council’s website for almost a year now. The launch is coming up very soon and we’re in the final stages of testing it out and finishing off a number of loose ends. Bear in mind that some bits may not be working absolutely 100% yet as this isn’t the official version for launch yet.

Our immensely capable project lead in the Communications and Marketing team on this project has been Rachel Curtis – so I’ll leave it to her words to explain where we’re at and how you can check out the site:

The new Medway Council website is on the way and we need you to tell us what you think of it. We have released a beta site which we would like you to test drive with the following questions in mind:

  • Is it easy to use?
  • Can you find what you are looking for?
  • Do you like it or dislike it and why?

Why beta?

Every website needs to be tested by users before it launches. If there are parts of the site that you find difficult to use, please tell us and we’ll try to fix them before launch. We want you to fully explore the site and tell us what works for you and what doesn’t.

The site is in beta because it isn’t finished yet. There are features missing, the content isn’t all in yet and some things may not work 100 per cent. We are still working on the site but wanted to ask for your thoughts as soon as possible so that we have time to improve things.

There are a few new features that you might want to test out:

  • Find my nearest – location based services, tailored to your postcode;
  • Search box – we’ve invested in this so that you can find your information quickly and easily;
  • Top tabs – whatever you want to do, get it done quickly;
  • Navigation – search by who you are or what you want to do.

With your input, we can make sure it is as useful as possible for you and fulfils your expectations.

So if you can spare two minutes, visit the beta website here – http://beta.medway.gov.uk

When you have had a good look around, please tell us what you think. Either add your comments to the discussion on the Medway Council re-development blog, or email webeditor@medway.gov.uk.

Your feedback is greatly appreciated.

If you’d like more information about the project, we’ve been publishing as much information, feedback, reporting and data (including budget details) on the project blog – you can explore that here.

4 Comments on “Test drive the Medway Council website in beta”

  1. Hello,

    Obviously I am too late to leave comments about the beta site as you are up and running now!

    Just wondering about your news section. We are relaunching our councils website this year and there has been some back and forth over wether the news should be at the top or the bottom of the site. One thinking is although we like to produce nice news stories is that really want users of the website come there for? Is taking up a large part of what people see when they come on to the site news wasting opportunity for people to find more information?

    Have you had any feedback on this, or it is really such a small thing that we shouldnt worry about?

    Many thanks

    1. Hi Gemma,
      Thanks for your comment.

      Our evidence showed that people weren’t coming to the site for news stories -it wasn’t one of the tasks that they wanted to complete on our site, but having news content in appropriate places was helpful in showing them other information when they were there, as long as it didn’t get in the way of the task they wanted to do.

      I think the key thing is that council sites aren’t there as news websites – they’re for information and transactions – and news is just one part of providing information.

      When it comes to specific design thinking, my approach if you can’t decide would be to do two rough designs showing different amounts of news and do some user testing – that helps make sure it works for users and gets around any internally-held strong opinions that may be swaying the thinking!

  2. Hi Simon,

    In your reply to Gemma, you stated “our evidence showed”. May I ask what evidence this was? Did you use a local group of mystery shoppers, or did you look elsewhere for this?



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