Monthly Archives: February 2013

Listening to Customers: Cambridge City Council responds with relaunched website

Listening to Customers: Cambridge City Council responds with relaunched website


The new Cambridge City Council website provides tangible evidence of how local public engagement can lead directly to improvements in Council services for residents and customers.

During the summer of 2012 Cambridge City Council undertook a survey to discover what residents and customers wanted from the Council’s website. Using surveys, focus groups and direct communication on Twitter and via its Facebook page the Council identified from the public feedback key areas of its online business and information services that could be significantly improved through the Council website. [more]

The feedback formed a central part of a Council action plan to redesign, reconfigure and rethink its online presence. The plan included an invitation to tender for companies to submit a proposal outlining how they would work with the Council’s web team to deliver the objectives of the action plan through the Council’s flagship corporate website. The Web Publishing Portal consortium of JDi Solutions, Artychoke and Blue Fox technology came together and successfully submitted a bid in response to the tender in the Autumn of 2012. The contract runs for 3 years.

The new website encompasses a number of key improvements in areas of design, accessibility, functionality and ongoing content management by the Council’s web team. The new design and layout focuses on uncluttering web pages, making it easier for visitors to identify and use the feature or service available online that they require. The simplification of the design and layout also ensures that the responsive design implemented for the website will work well on mobile devices as well as static PCs. Such consistency is important now that people use multiple devices to interact online.

Greater prominence has been given to those tasks and services that people use regularly with site navigation prioritised around those ‘Top Tasks’ whether it’s looking for confirmation of bin collection days or paying a bill. Quick and easy was a mantra soon adopted by the team!

A central calendar means that residents and customers can see in one place what events and Council meetings are coming up on a daily, weekly and monthly basis thereby creating a high level of transparency and openness in Council activity.

Underpinning all the improvements to the public website is a Content Management System that allows the Council web team to not only maintain the website’s content but to also make their own improvements to the features and functions available to the online visitor of the website. Under the contract with Cambridge our development team will continue to deliver updates and improvements to the Council’s CMS and website as part of an ongoing support and maintenance agreement. This will include further integration with other Council systems to facilitate the delivery of more Council services and local information online through the improved online presence the website now provides.

In addition to the corporate website our development team has also delivered the new Cambridge Corn Exchange website and is currently working on the Council’s new corporate Intranet site. Drupal, the open source web development framework, is the main platform for delivering these improved websites and services.

Cambridge Corn Exchange: new theatre website launched

Cambridge Corn Exchange: new theatre website launched

 If you build it, he will come.

That famous line from the Hollywood film Field of Dreams summarises the digital strategy for the new Cambridge Corn Exchange website: to design and build a clear and effective website that appeals to both the general public and to the seasoned theatre-goer. 

The new website is sponsored by the City Council and forms an integral part of our contract to design and build new Internet sites and a new corporate Intranet site for the Council. All sites are built within the Drupal development framework and like all the sites the Corn Exchange website includes a fully integrated CMS allowing theatre staff to update the website easily and quickly. [more]

Of particular importance to the administrators was the ability to quickly and efficiently publicise content about new confirmed acts, new dates and additional performances and to publish that content simultaneously across a number of web channels including the website and various social media networks 

This integrated approach to content management ensures that unique features of the website such as the calendar, the ‘Just confirmed’ and ‘Latest News’ section, the ‘What’s On’ page and each show’s unique landing page are easy to maintain and are easy to access and navigate by the visitor to the website.

Alongside the Council’s corporate website the Corn Exchange’s new website is hosted on our servers as part of an expanding hub of Council websites designed, built and customised within the Drupal development framework. Both the Council’s web team and our own development team can directly access the CMS that supports the websites in the hub allowing us to provide a high quality, responsive and efficient maintenance and support service.

In addition the terms of our Software as a Service model also gives the Council direct and inclusive access to any updates and improvements we make to the Drupal development hub, ensuring that the Council’s in-house web team is keeping pace with how to implement great new user experiences coming out of the Drupal development community.