Millions of people use our corporate site every year and we know that some parts of the site aren’t as easy to use as others. This is partly due to the sheer volume and breadth of information that we publish as a government but we know we can improve.
If you struggle elsewhere on the web, then you can go back to the search results page and pick another site. But for many things GOV.WALES is the only place people can go so they have to work with whatever we give them. That makes our job building a new GOV.WALES even more important.
GOV.WALES is for you
One of the main issues that we’re addressing is the widespread public perception that our website ‘isn’t for me’. There are lots of valid reasons for this view, including the information architecture and the way we present content. This leads many of you to the conclusion that the site is more ‘for government’ than for you: it’s us telling the world what we’re doing.
We need to reverse that situation so that you understand from the second you land on GOV.WALES that this site exists for you and your needs are more important than ours.
What we’ve done so far
We put a short questionnaire on the current GOV.WALES to get a better understanding of who you are and why you’re using the site, as well as what you think of it. Our main findings were:
(i) Finding information is your main problem
Relatively few of you have an issue with the design of the site or understanding the information we publish; your main problem is finding the information in the first place. So as we build the new GOV.WALES we are making the navigation as simple as possible to improve the journey to the content you need.
(ii) Lots of you have a personal reason for visiting GOV.WALES
This was a surprise. There’s a widely held view here that people only really use our corporate site while hunched over their desks at work, crunching through our stats and research or accessing press releases for Ministerial quotes: it’s a dry site for people doing dry things. The questionnaire revealed that over a quarter came to the site for purely personal reasons. This is encouraging as it suggests that we’re on to something in our efforts to repurpose the site and surface the more practical stuff with a broader user base.
We’ve also started building the new GOV.WALES by developing a beta consultations service. We chose to start with consultations because it’s something that was relatively easy to tackle in isolation from the rest of the site.
We’ve also developed a set of templates for campaign and promotional content. Go superfast is the first campaign on the new site.
What we’re doing next
We’re re-writing our most popular content, like student finance and home ownership schemes. We’ll be publishing this content on the new GOV.WALES next spring. We’re also looking at how the site can give a comprehensive view of public sector organisations across Wales and our relationship with them.
We’re really keen to hear from you about our work to build a new GOV.WALES so please leave us a comment below or send us an email.
Post by Graham Craig, Corporate Digital Communications Team, Welsh Government