Thoughts and encounters part 1
I spoke with a few delegates during the day, and some other interesting topics came up in the all-delegate discussions. This and the next post report my reactions to these topics
It was also suggested that the CC website created by the Improvement Service should have been created by CCs working together, and that the money spent on web-developers should have been spent on resourcing CCs. Having thought about this, I believe that while this might have been ideal, we do not live in an ideal world, and so this website would have never happened if it had been left to CCs. (If they were going to do it, they would have done so already.)
And, quite frankly, interpreting input from 1100 CCs is not a task I’d want. Also, while there are many workable CC websites and a few really good ones, there are some abominations out there. I wouldn’t want input from the people responsible for these. Nor would I want to hear from CCs who have spent over £1000 commissioning web developers to produce bespoke websites. Workable CC websites can be made for under £100 using WordPress or similar. If CCs are going to spend that much money, it should be on planning and training themselves to run their online presences. Avoiding vendor lock-in and succession-planning are the key themes here.
Also, my learning about Information Systems Development (and apparently I’m quite good) suggests that most people are unable to say all that a new product needs at the start. But if given a prototype, they will be able to say what needs to be added or improved. This requires an iterative process, making improvements on improvements, with rational decisions on which improvements can be fitted into the time and budget available. There’s a whole science of agile software development (wikipedia) out there, so there are recognised ways of developing this website.
One of the SG officials I spoke with agreed that the CC website hasn’t yet found its voice. I suggest that now is the time to ask CCs and other citizens what is needed, then make rational choices (including looking at inputting CCs’ own websites to help discard dross), and then to keep on developing.
ROUTES TO ONLINE
One of the delegates at my table told me that his CC had started a blog but this got no hits. However, when they moved to Facebook the engagement rate took off enormously. I’m personally not fond of Facebook but if that’s where the audience is, that’s where CCs need to go. (I think they will also need to maintain some form of website to contain minutes and other documents in an accessible manner.)