NEWS ROUND-UP JANUARY 2014
Happy New Year!
Here is a brief round-up of news and projects that have been keeping us busy in recent weeks.
2014 kicks off with the launch of Ipswich Borough Council’s new corporate website [click here for link]. The website, which went live on 20th January, was designed, built and configured by Portal project partners JDi Solutions and Artychoke. The new website is the 3rd corporate local authority website to be built by JDi Solutions using the open source Drupal development software hosted on its own servers. The company has created a pre-configured version of the Drupal system that has been developed specifically for local authority websites and which provides a range of ‘out of the box’ features and functions common to local authority websites and CMS. A full article about the project will be published on the Portal next month.
At the start of 2014 the Web Publishing Portal was awarded a contract to produce 4 unique interactive programs for touch screen kiosks. The programs will be developed for use on Apple iPads and will contain content and features designed to promote walking, cycling and environmental information relating to specific areas along the North Wales coast. The Portal project partners are Blue Fox Technology, Artychoke and Cobalt Techno. More details soon.
Blue Fox Technology is currently upgrading its Opus online map publishing software. In the second half of 2013 the company picked up contracts with the West Northamptonshire Joint Planning Unit and with the London Borough of Bexley to use the software in the development of online mapping in support of their Local Plan programmes. Under its SaaS licence West Northamptonshire JPU will be integrating the maps it develops and publishes from Opus with other documents and databases it makes available to the public online via its dedicated JPU website. A full article on this project will appear here once the first online map is up and running.
Discover Denbighshire: how mapping and design personalise the user experience
The design for the new Discover Denbighshire website (click here for link) has mapping as a primary feature of the visitor’s user experience. The website’s Home page incorporates an interactive map of the area with the locations of events, places to eat and stay and attractions both clickable and searchable from the very first moment the visitor arrives at the website.
The prominent use of interactive mapping provides a number of benefits. Firstly it familiarises the visitor with the area, showing them the extent of Denbighshire, a county many holidaymakers may predominantly associate with its coastal destinations of Rhyl and Prestatyn. The map illustrates how far the county reaches into the Welsh mainland and highlights the attractions available as an alternative to those of the coastal towns and beaches. The colours and styles used on the map have been designed to work with the corporate branding of the website so that the mapping element is seen as an integral part of the website rather than as simply an “add on”. The mapping is linked to a database and CMS so the Discover Denbighshire team can maintain the map content and location details themselves. [more]
Second, the interactive map allows visitors to personalise their user experience of the website, providing them with the option to find what interests them when they go on holiday. When used in conjunction with the website’s search tools visitors can filter and display searches based on their interests; e.g outdoor pursuits, child-friendly eateries or dog-friendly accommodation. The map will show the locations of their custom searches and filters.
Third, the map encourages the the visitor to explore beyond their primary interest, again by using enhanced search and filter tools. For example, once the visitor has identified an attraction or event that interests them they have the option to search for what is nearby to its location. The ‘What’s Near Me?’ feature encourages the visitor to explore the area more deeply and to consider other options for their itinerary. The filtering process allows visitors to enter date ranges so a daytrip has the potential to be extended to a weekend break if, for example, an interesting event is scheduled the day before or after their planned visit.
The interactive mapping is based on Ordnance Survey’s OpenData. It offers clients an alternative to Google and Bing maps and provides options to design and personalise maps so they are more integrated with the user experience and destination management objectives required of the tourism website. The design, build and hosting of Discover Denbighshire’s website and CMS was undertaken by The Web Publishing Portal in 2013.