Monthly Archives: January 2013

South Cambs DC: A corporate website that saves time and money

South Cambs DC: A corporate website that saves time and money

Before Christmas 2012 we completed the first phase of a 3 year contract to redesign, build, support and help to maintain South Cambridgeshire District Council’s corporate Internet and Intranet sites.

The new corporate website (click here or the image to visit the website) was launched on 17th December 2012 and marks a key stage in our use and development of Drupal, the open source content management and web development platform. [more]

One of the key features of the new website is a design and layout to encourage residents and businesses to use the ‘self service’ facilities that are available online and to undertake transactions over the web rather than over the telephone or face-to-face in Council offices around the district. The new online facilities accessed via the website are expected to save the Council thousands of pounds per year with estimates showing that a transaction carried out online costs an average of 15p per transaction while an equivalent transaction costs £8 if the customer needs to visit a Council office.

The new Home page for the Council website provides a focal point for the thinking behind how the website has been designed and built with priority given to user engagement and guided interaction as highlighted by the key phrases: Pay For It, Apply For It and Report It. The website forms an integral part of a series of improvements being made by the Council to enhance its award-winning customer care services.

Customer care is at the heart of how we are providing our services under the 3 year contract. The contract is based on the same model we use for our Software as a Service that covers a range of web-based software we have developed over the years. The South Cambs web team have been an integral part of the project team from day one. In addition to regular on-site meetings their direct input is managed via our ticketing system that allows them to view, report and assess on how the project is progressing and comment on individual features and functions of the website as they are developed and tested.

We will be providing full on-site training to the Council’s web team in the website’s CMS and will continue to provide ongoing support and maintenance over the course of the contract as the corporate website and its CMS reside on our servers.

The next phase of the project, to build the new corporate Intranet site, is already well under way and is also being built using Drupal. We’ll let you know more about that project on the Portal so keep coming back!

On Your Bike!: New mobile app for mountain biking launched

On Your Bike!: New mobile app for mountain biking launched

Last Saturday we launched our first iPhone app on behalf of Denbighshire County Council. It’s part of the suite of web and mobile applications we’ve developed for the Ride North Wales brand (click here for the main website) that promote North Wales as an exciting hub for on and off-road cyclists of all levels of ability. The hub covers routes and amenities through the Conwy Valley, Hiraethog and the Clwydian Range.

The app is free and can be downloaded from the iTunes website if you click here. The app builds on the data and content in the central database and CMS that supports the main website and features routes shown on the native mapping of the iPhone and on Ordnance Survey (OS) mapping.  

The OS route maps have been optimised for use in conjunction with the iPhone’s GPS which means that even if cyclists can’t connect to the Internet to see routes on Apple maps they will be able to use the GPS in conjunction with the bundled OS route maps. In addition there are route cards that can be downloaded as further back-up.

The app also features places to eat and stay, local hire shops and bike facilities as well as location points for tourist information, first aid and public transport. 

Plans are already in place for version 2.0 but with the launch of verion 1.0 we’re hoping to get some user feedback to help us refine and prioritise some of our ideas and technical solutions. [more]

There are also plans to extend the Ride North Wales hub to include graded road cycling routes in addition to the Easy, Moderate, Hard and Very Hard mountain biking routes already mapped. The development team are also looking at improving how the interactive maps can carry more information via waymarkers on the route maps and a function to help cyclists and app users identify what amenities are in their proximity while on or near the route.

This is an exciting development for us at the Portal so we’d welcome any feedback either via the blog or the iTunes store!