Website improvement worth the wait

By on 03/07/2009 in News

Glyn Evans, Birmingham City Council’s Corporate Director for Business Change, has responded to reports about “teething troubles” experienced during the development of Birmingham City Council’s new official website.

He said: “During the migration, where the pages are moved from the old council website to the new .gov website, a bug in the process meant that some characters within the copy on the pages were omitted.

“All of the pages on the new website have therefore had to be reviewed and amended and this has obviously caused some delays.

“However, this checking process will mean that when the new site goes live, which is currently anticipated for the end of July/ the first week in August, this issue will have been resolved.

“The revamped council website will, in time, revolutionise the on-line service that we offer to those that live in, work in and visit Birmingham as the current website technology is obsolete.

“Initial improvements benefiting the web user will include enhanced disability access, a better search facility based on Google technology and an ability to instantly add details of events and contact numbers to electronic diaries.

“Technologically the new web platform is much better than the previous one – allowing us to add features such as RSS feeds and GIS mapping in the future.

“The website will also support Business Transformation’s Customer First programme which is set to give all citizens a personal account on-line where they will be able to monitor and track customer enquiries.”

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  1. Pete Ashton says:

    So you’re saying the new website WON’T have RSS feeds when it’s launched?

    I’m wondering what other basic features will be missing…

    • KrisK says:

      I’ve spoken to Glyn Evans, our Corporate Director of Business Change, and he told me:

      The new http://www.birmingham.gov.uk website will act as a platform for a series of phased enhancements to the services that we provide for people that want to interact with the council using the internet.

      The technology of our existing site is obsolete and would not allow us to introduce these much-needed changes.

      Not all of the potential improvements will come on stream from day one. To use a simple analogy, the launch will in effect be the end of construction work on a new house. The improvements that can then follow represent the process of “furnishing” that house.

      The launch of the new site is the first milestone in a much greater journey that will bring citizens their own user accounts, enhanced disability access, a much better search facility based on Google technology and an ability to instantly add details of events and contact numbers to electronic diaries.

      RSS feeds and features like GIS mapping – that will enable visitors to easily locate council services near to them for instance – will all be able to follow on as the council’s nine Business Transformation workstreams evolve.

      An definitive menu of features and enhancements has not been finalised as the website is a live, organic creation and we will of course welcome feedback from users following the re-launch.

  2. P People says:

    Three years in the making, a clunky CMS that belongs to the digital stone age, no web 2.0 features, a problem coping with images – it has been a disaster from start to finish – except well, it still hasn’t finished!

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