• led by the Digital Experience Team at Renfrewshire Council

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Digital Experience programme

In the age of fake news and dependence on the internet, a trustworthy, reliable and transparent digital experience is a must-have for Renfrewshire Council.

The better we make our digital experience the easier it will be for our customers, service users and staff to access and use our information and online services.

The context

Digital experience represents the way we engage with our users over a variety of digital channels and touchpoints. These include:

  • websites
  • apps
  • social media channels, for example Facebook and Instagram
  • digital communication mediums such as emails, web notifications and chatbots
  • voice device technology, for example Alexa and Siri
  • digital advertising, for example Google ads
  • Microsoft 365 products, for example Sharepoint or Yammer
  • Wearables such as a smartwatch
  • digital signage

Over the years, we’ve launched some of these channels, mainly websites. In 2019, our public website, intranet, online customer portal (MyAccount), and Paisley.is were visited by 2 million users. In 2020, traffic increased exponentially, especially on mobile phones, confirming that Renfrewshire.gov.uk is the go-to place for our users.

However, while Renfrewshire.gov.uk and other supporting digital channels have become the place to find information and services, it is not often a quick and enjoyable experience. We asked our users what they thought about our digital channels and they shared their frustration with us.

They highlighted that they find it hard to navigate between pages and websites and search for the information they are looking for. They expect content to be easier to find and digest and the user journey more intuitive. Although they value the content published across our websites, they find these channels not intuitive and dry. Overall, our users want the same quality of experience with us as they receive from the corporate sector.

Stats

Our public website has had 900,000 users between March and September 2020, which is near 50% more than in the same period last year, and reinforcing the importance of a reliable, trusted digital information source.

With people being forced to stay at home during the Covid-19 crisis, there’s been an immediate increase in use of digital channels. An increase that is here to stay as the pandemic and lockdown have changed digital consumer behaviour for the long-term, rather than just for the length of the crisis.

This points to a unique opportunity for the Council to deliver a better digital experience for customers, service users and our workforce.

The vision

The quality of our digital experience determines how our audiences feel about their interaction with Renfrewshire Council. They can be happy and satisfied because they found the information they were looking for and/or were able to carry out a transaction easily online. Or dissatisfied because it didn’t work for them.

Our vision is to develop a seamless, integrated, consistent and personalised digital experience across all channels and devices. We will implement this vision to meet the needs of all Renfrewshire communities.

Why seamless? People who embrace digital expect organisations to use digital means effectively to simplify their lives.

Why integrated? Digital channels and touchpoints should deliver the same information and online services so that people can easily access them on their preferred device.

Why consistent? The coherence of content on a multitude of digital channels would allow our users to recognise the Council’s identity and build trust.

Why personalised? Personalisation done well is a surprising delight, giving users appropriate information at an appropriate time and place.

The strategy

Started in 2019, our strategy focuses on two areas of work until 2024.

Consolidate and diversify our digital channels and touchpoints

Our digital landscape is underpinned by too many websites managed by different teams. These sometimes compete against each other for the same audience and can carry contradictory information. They also struggle to apply content, design and technical standards, making them not well-structured, accessible and consistently recognisable as Council-branded. Simplifying our digital landscape is a necessity.

We will develop a new Renfrewshire.gov.uk that will absorb many of our current websites and become the flagship and nerve-centre of our content and online services. This will allow us to centralise content and effectively maintain quality and accuracy.

We will also diversify our digital channels and touchpoints to reach audiences on their preferred device, for example, adding automated emails, chatbot, mobile apps, voice device technology, etc.

More about this objective

Protect the integrity of our digital experience

Working with other digital services across the Council, we will introduce new processes to support this new approach to digital experience developments. This will mean that everyone benefits from innovations.

We will also develop guidelines for employees and partners. They will cover a broad range of web standards and be housed within The Thread. These standards will, for example, ensure future solutions are:

  • aligned with the strategy
  • consistent and integrated with our digital channels
  • compliant with web regulations

The tech

As user preferences, behaviours and expectations change, technology also evolves. Digital experience platforms (DXPs) provide innovative ways to manage digital content. This technology means we can share content across websites, apps or voice activated devices. People will have more choice over how they engage with us, but our estate will be leaner, easier to maintain, and respond more quickly to users’ needs.

As well as implementing a DXP, we will look at how we can improve the experience with additional tools. For example, an automated digital messaging system will allow us to send automated emails or app notifications when our customers or workforce are going through an online transaction.

The team

The team is composed of 3 digital and content experts. We work closely with Digital First, ICT and other services to deliver the objectives from our strategy and support your projects.

We bring on our digital partner(s) when additional knowledge is needed to deliver the right digital experience solution.

If you need advice or support with a particular project, email us at web@renfrewshire.gov.uk.

Blog

Latest articles from The Thread

Whether you’re one of our content publishers, a colleague from another service, or a member of the public, we’re here to share our expertise and the improvements we make to the digital channels you use.

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