Case Study: South Lanarkshire Council

South Lanarkshire Council has developed a new web site, built using Jadu's Web Content Management platform, mobile web solution (Weejot) and a responsive web design that aims to improve customer experience.

Weejot is Jadu's mobile web app publishing service which delivers information 'when and where' it is wanted.

It provides customers with a consistent online experience irrespective of the size of display, device or browser and combined with the 'responsive web design' approach also adopted is delivering the quality mobile experience that customers now expect.

In April 2011, South Lanarkshire Council's Strategic Web Working Group was established to oversee the Council's web strategy.

The Council had built its web strategy around the Jadu Content Management System and as a next stage was seeking to redesign the current site and to maximise the benefits that could be gained from a number of new technology developments including - the mobile web, a Responsive Web Design approach and social media.  

The review also examined all aspects of improving website effectiveness including - web usability, navigation and content, accessibility, and the utilisation of the website as a knowledge base.

The Steering Group subsequently initiated a series of projects to look at each element which resulted in three project groups being established to focus on:

  • Website redesign and accessibility
  • The development of a mobile web strategy and mobile apps
  • The introduction of device independent web site access using a responsive web design approach

The South Lanarkshire web team initiated the programme of strategic change with the build of its new web site utilising Jadu CMS 1.8 and a wire framing and prototyping approach from the 'ground up'.

This allowed changes to be made and reflected back dynamically.

Mobile Web Strategy and Mobile Apps

South Lanarkshire Council had evaluated a number of third party Mobile App providers but the launch of Weejot, a breakthrough new mobile web app publishing services from Jadu enabled the South Lanarkshire web team to rapidly deploy a mobile solution using their own resources.

"We realised more and more of our customers were accessing our website through their phones and other small devices such as iPads and Kindles.

We've been fortunate that our IT development team has been able build a responsive website that can adapt to all these devices.

The Jadu mobile website allowed us to provide winter roads and school closure apps that were very well used during the bad weather.

This has allowed us to provide people with very current information even when they're out and about."

Drew King, Head of Corporate Communications at South Lanarkshire Council

Weejot enables non technical management of the mobile web and allows the creation of branded mobile apps to extend the coverage and reach of the Jadu content management system.

Delivered through a cloud based Software as a Service (SaaS) network Weejot enables Apps to be written through the creation of Jadu Directories using a Directories App Template.   

The apps and icons can then be utilised on handheld devices that support the HTML5 and CSS3 standards. 

South Lanarkshire has currently implemented the Weejot service on iPhone's, Android and Blackberry devices and this coverage will be extended in the near future.

The Council applied the powerful MyJadu API, which is an integral part of the Jadu CMS, to present data to mobile web templates.

The initial mobile app focused on supporting the most popular content items which included - Events, Councillors, School holidays, Public Holidays, Contact us and Council Notices. Content widgets for Winter Advice and School closures have subsequently been added.

South Lanarkshire also utilised the Twitter social media channel to promote the new services which has resulted in a massive rise in visitors. For example, during the December of 2011 visitor rate jumped from a few hundred  to over 5000 within a week.

Kay Brown, Head of ICT in South Lanarkshire Council is about to assume the Presidency of Socitm and stresses that the outcomes from Socitm Better Connected are important to the Council: 

"We've had an active web presence for almost 10 years and have continually improved its presence and relevance in relation to web services.

The Council moved to Jadu two years ago and was always aware that user expectation was a move to mobile access. An interesting statistic is that by 2014 more people will access the Internet via mobile devices rather than desk top.

We were aware of the trend and with Jadu developed a device neutral mobile presence that can be adapted to meet seasonal requirements. It basically uses the existing content and was developed in a relatively short time and at a low cost.

We are pleased with this as a contribution to our channel shift and our ability to meet our customer requirements and believe that this will be reflected in our Better Connected results going forward"

Responsive Design - a device independent web experience

A key objective of the Strategic Web Working Group was to build a web site that would be easily navigable and usable irrespective of device used to access it.

South Lanarkshire had previous experience of Responsive Design within the web team and this knowledge was utilised to strip back the whole web site to give a lighter feel that focused on Top Tasks.

Each element on the home page was prioritised according to change of browser (projector, desktop, landscape tablet or tablet size screen or iphone) and customer focus groups were used so that all content was prioritised based on what customers want to do. 

Particular focus was also given to ensuring that minority groups such as the visually impaired and those with learning difficulties were accommodated.

A wide range of devices are supported by the new web site which was developed using a flexible grid based layout, flexible images and media; media queries (from the CSS3 specification) and valid HTML5.

Pixels  Type of Device
 320  Small screen like phones held in portrait mode
 480  Small screen devices, phone in landscape
 600  Smaller tablets like the Amazon Kindle
 768  iPad (768x1024) held in portrait mode
 1024  iPad (1024 x 768) landscape; laptops, netbook
 1200  Widescreen displays

Visitors to the council's site on a mobile are prompted to download the web app

An example of South Lanarkshire's mobile website - 'Councillors'

An example of South Lanarkshire's mobile website - 'School Holidays'

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About South Lanarkshire

South Lanarkshire is one of 32 unitary council areas of Scotland, covering the southern part of the former county of Lanarkshire.

It borders the south-east of the city of Glasgow and contains many of Glasgow's suburbs, commuter towns and smaller villages.

With a population of 310,930, South Lanarkshire is Scotland's fifth largest local authority. It covers an area 1,772 square kilometres in central and southern Scotland, almost 80 percent of which is agricultural.

About Weejot

Weejot provides tools to create and deploy apps inside the Weejot 'AppStudio'. It uses data from back office systems, social networks and content management systems as well as embedding maps and the ability to share and distribute those apps over the web.

Developers can use the Weejot Software Development Kit (SDK) to develop their own 'AppTemplates' which can then connect to back office systems to present mobile data.

The Weejot service has been designed for any organisation to easily deploy web applications. The service also allows organisations using Jadu products to build mobile applications easily through integrated 'out- of-the-box' AppTemplates.

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