Yesterday I had the pleasure of chairing a discussion attended by representatives from 10 different councils at the Building Perfect Council Websites ’10 conference at Olympia.
I spent a few minutes headlining the findings from our 2010 council report The Devil Is in the Detail and then opened up the discussion. The overwhelming consensus was that all council sites need to improve in some way but there are a number of challenges to overcome to achieve this:
We discussed a number of approaches and techniques for getting citizens involved in the design process that won’t break the bank. Techniques I’ve used before include:
As with all user-centered design it’s imperative that careful consideration is done upfront when planning the research. A coherent research plan will ensure that the component parts work together to build one picture and validate each other. The target audience needs to be agreed upfront and if recruiting for usability testing be very specific who you want to test with and recruit appropriately; there’s little value testing your self service functionality with someone who’ll never use it or has little or no interest in the tasks you give them.
Above all it’s important to remember that any citizen involvement is better that none!