If you work in communications you probably have responsibilities for a website or two. And you’ll know that improving them is an ongoing job and one which needs users to chip in. So how do you fancy helping colleagues in Wales on their web improvement journey? Read on and please help if you can…
by Louise Foster-Key
After three years of having a new website at the Wales Audit Office, we’ve decided it’s definitely not a new website anymore and we need to embrace some evaluation.
So, we’ve just launched a website feedback survey and are encouraging anyone that’s visited our site or has read one of our audit reports before to take part.
Conducting a website survey is by no means a new thing. They’ve been around pretty much since the birth of websites, although they’re a lot better than they used to be. It’s also a lot more common in the public sector now than it used to be, thanks to the push towards understanding ‘user needs’.
So why are we doing this?
Websites are never really ‘finished’ are they? There’s always room to improve. And we want to make sure that the people visiting our site, both new and returning visitors, are having their needs met.
We already know our mobile visits are increasing (as they have been for everyone). We saw a 25% increase last year specifically. But even though our website is already responsive, how else can we improve the mobile user’s experience?
We also want to understand our website visitors better, instead of just analysing them via an analytics tool. There may be plenty of assumptions about our visitors within the walls of the Wales Audit Office, but we need reliable data.
Transforming the WAO
Like many parts of the public sector, the Wales Audit Office is currently looking at digital transformation. We’re specifically looking into our use of data and technology – and a group has been formed, from across the organisation, to devote time to looking into this for 6 months before reporting back to the Auditor General for Wales with recommendations.
As a lucky member of this exciting project team, I’m looking at ‘audit products’ – the outputs of our work - whether that’s the audit report itself, the website it lives on or related campaign materials. We’re also exploring new outputs like visual dashboards.
Gathering feedback and analysing our website analytics data is essential to this project as well. I can investigate many ideas and see what other organisations are doing, but what do our stakeholders want from us?
How you can help
As communicators working in the public sector, we hope we can call on you for support to spread the word amongst your colleagues. Some of you will be familiar with our reports through your work and we’d love to hear what you, and your colleagues think.
You may not have even visited our site before – don’t be shy, please visit our website and then tell us what you think!
Louise Foster-Key is digital communications officer at Wales Audit Office
image via NASA on the Commons