Harborough District Council has adopted an innovative new approach to web design known as 'Responsive Web Design', to develop a web site that delivers a user experience that is 'unique' within the local government community.
This approach enables a website design to be responsive to a
user's behaviour, environment and how they choose to browse according
to screen size and platform, whether this be by tablet, mobile device
or desktop computer.
Harborough District Council has now made significant steps forward to ensuring a consistent customer experience across all access channels and devices.
The Council can also deliver improved efficiencies as content will only need to updated once to achieve this.
The Harborough site is also now 'future proofed' for yet to be released devices, because of the ability to deliver an optimised user experience utilising existing content.
Creating an agile and responsive organisation is the challenge faced by every Council across the UK where 'transformation' is the key to improved efficiency and cost savings.
The Responsive Web Design approach provides a key enabler of transformation and the delivery of Harborough District Council's vision - which is to deliver 'The Council of the Future' as recently defined by Socitm.
"A council that is agile and responsive; able to change to meet changing needs, able to deliver services efficiently and well, and taking account of people with disabilities, or people in more remote areas with travel difficulties. They will see a council that engages with them and involves them - and most importantly they will see it as "my council" rather than just "the council"
Socitm Consulting, 2011
To provide a robust platform for transforming the 'customer experience', Harborough District Council has worked with the Jadu design team to deliver a full redesign using the responsive web design approach and upgraded its content management system to Jadu CMS 1.9 on a php platform.
The new design is reactive and reflects the rural and demographic district of Harborough. As part of this theme the Council has also introduced a 'day and night' theme to the web site to reflect the rural environment.
It has also introduced a weather icon that changes according the current weather conditions.
The new design has been focused around the 'Community' rather than the Council's brand to ensure that residents maintained a sense of community.
This is particularly important given the rural nature of the
Harborough district. The web design is also deliberately uncluttered to
avoid the issues of broadband connectivity typically associated with the
"We did not want to be like everyone else. We wanted to provide a more engaging design for residents that reflected the rural environment. Ultimately our goal is to deliver what is right for the customer and be individual, unique, refreshing and ahead of the game."
Councillor Paul Dann, Portfolio Holder for Corporate and Customer Services
Harborough has also improved the transactional capabilities of the new site by focusing on the 'Top Tasks' that residents seek when visiting the Council's web site, these are:
- Council News
- Planning on line
- Conservation Areas
- Council Tax
- Contact Us
- Shopping Guide
- Council Jobs
- Refuse Collection
- Wind Farms
- Visit Harborough
This approach was recently identified by Socitm as essential to developing effective web sites and is a key aspect of channel shift.
Collaboration and knowledge sharing with other Jadu customers has made a significant contribution to the Harborough web development. In particular, close collaboration with neighbouring council Hinckley & Bosworth has enabled Harborough to maximise its web resource effectiveness.
The next phase of development for Harborough is to further develop the concept of 'My Harborough' which has been a key driver for all initiatives to date. This will focus on the use of postcodes to pull data from all areas of the web site enabling increased focus on 'Calls to action' in areas such as My Nearest and other top tasks.
will also be upgrading its intranet and increasing the level of
integration between front end web systems and back office systems such
as HR and payroll to promote self help across the council.
An initial wireframe is created to decide how the framework will sit…
From client discussion style tiles are created to illustrate the visuals of the new site…
Harborough is able to make informed decisions on design based from solid visuals
A final moodboard is created, with how these visuals will work with a UI in mind
This final style tile considers other site functionality, such as widgets and icons…
Once the wireframe and style tile are agreed on, the new site is then implemented.
An example of Harborough's site changing to "dark" to reflect it being evening.
The site is fully responsive, with elements responding to device and browser size.
Harborough is a local government district of Leicestershire, England, named after it's main town, Market Harborough. Covering 230 square miles, the District is by far the largest of the eight district authorities in Leicestershire and covers almost a quarter of the County.
The District extends south and east from the Leicester urban area; on the east it adjoins the County of Rutland; has a boundary on the north with the Boroughs of Charnwood and Melton; on the south it has a long boundary with the County of Northamptonshire comprising the Boroughs of Corby, Kettering and the District of Daventry, To the west the boundary is with Warwickshire and the Borough of Rugby, a boundary formed for much of its length by the line of Watling street.
The north-western boundary of the district adjoins Blaby District and the Borough of Oadby and Wigston. The villages of Thurmby, Bushby and Scraptoft abut the suburbs of the City of Leicester.
The population of the District at mid 2007 was estimated as 82,300.