Better Connected 2012: Top Tasks

The implications of taking a Top Tasks approach go way beyond simple signposts...

Find out the latest on the Better Connected 2012 report here.

In September 2011, we attended the SOCITM Better Connected 2012 event looking at the new Top Tasks approach being taken for this year's review. What has become immediately clear from the day is that the whole Top Task approach goes way beyond simply signposting your key tasks on the homepage.

To take a true Top Task approach requires the redevelopment of your entire site architecture and content to focus on the tasks and making them easy to locate and complete.

Key points included:

  • Avoiding Multiple Navigation Options: When talking about multiple navigation options they were really talking about things like Quick Links etc. on the basis that the more choices you give a customer the more confused the likely they are to get. The message seemed to be tear down your information architecture and refocus it to provide a single clear navigation structure.

  • Rationalise Your Content: Get rid of all the content that gets in the way of customers focusing of the task at hand. Most content seems to be published for the gratification of individual departments and is probably never read by customers. Customers just want to get in, complete their task and get out again.

  • Get News Off The Homepage: One message that came out was that lots of Councils use large areas of the homepage to flag up news and PR type content that in reality isn't actually looked at by customers. Focus your homepage on tasks and not branding messages and press releases from your Communications department.

  • Continually Test And Review: Make sure your tasks work and that the customer journey is as streamlined as possible, and continually work on improving it.

  • Accessibility: This year the RNIB will be manually testing every website and have 14 specific criteria that they will look at (including about 4 'show stoppers'). As they will be testing the proposed Top Tasks it is important that Councils make sure the whole process is accessible, even if it is completed via an external site or portal.

  • Identify Your Overall Top Tasks: Get stats for all channels (web, face-to-face, telephone etc.) to identify your top tasks overall. Continually review and revise these.

  • Look At Factual Data And Not Opinion: Look at how customers are actually behaving on your website to determine how you implement changes, don't waste time looking at nice design and talking to focus groups. There were some useful stories about how focus groups nearly always get it wrong!

There were a number of useful presentations during the day the are available to download from the SOCITM website if you are a subscriber.

Particularly useful were the presentations by Gerry McGovern (Understanding the need for top tasks), Conor Moody and Kevin Jump (Implementing top tasks at Liverpool) and Michele Ide-Smith (Identifying top tasks at Cambridgeshire CC).

What is clear fromt he day is that to take on this approach represents a significant amount of work (Liverpool had a dedicated team working for six months to produce the first iteration of their task based site).

If you want to take a look at an example of a task focussed site then take a look atwww.liverpool.gov.uk. Note that their top task is finding Libraries information, and you can actually carry it out from the homepage itself - along with a number of other Top Tasks.

For further information on Top Tasks and why the review is changing SOCITM have published the paper Plans for Better Connected 2012.

In response to the announced changes Jadu have developed a Top Tasks widget that is available on our MarketPlace. Based on content and information already in your Jadu platform, the top tasks widget enables you to quickly surface relevant items that are most in demand by your customers - helping you foster channel shift and increased self service through your web channel.

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