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Preston City Council website – some thoughts

Posted on - 22nd January, 2009 - 5:53pm | Author - | Posted in - Uncategorized
new preston city council website homepage

new preston city council website homepage

Preston City Council relaunches its website, www.preston.gov.uk, in December. It was a relatively low key launch, they just kind of switched off the old site (which was, frankly, terrible) and put the new one up.

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It’s had a month or so to bed down and on first impressions they’ve done a good job. The design is clearer, sharper and it isn’t cluttered like the old site.

There is good use of imagery of Preston, actually showing the place of, and I like the little ‘nuggets’ of info that pop up on every page about the people, places and strange facts of Preston. Good stuff, I never knew there was that much to know! Check them out in the facts, faces and places section.

There’s a big win on the navigation. It’s been slimmed down to just what you’ll actually need on the left and then everything else is contained within their A-Z (in a prominent place on the frontpage) or use the search function. A massive problem with the old site was the over-complicated and downright useless search function. This one will actually find what you’re looking for.

The news and events sections are a welcome addition, especially as it gives chance to add some detail to stuff that just gets lost in a press release to the local media or drowned in council publications. The events box is a great way to show off what’s happening around the city and to help out local business’ and people.

Some improvements we’d like to see:

There’s two improvements I’d like to see. More multimedia could be used throughout the site, to really get under the skin and give a good impression of the city, or illustrate a point/news story/information piece. Hopefully this is in the pipeline. If they do this, then make sure that content is embedded either in a player via youtube or in a good in-house player. Not like the old site where you had to download the video to your computer.

The second is to improve the blogging function. They’ve given sideburned council leader Ken Hudson a blog, but it’s not really a blog, you can’t comment and he doesn’t link to anything. That’s not a blog, it’s an old fashioned newspaper leader. Open up a comments section under each post (moderate them if you need to stop the political infighting) and ensure that ol’ Ken is linking to what he’s referring to. Although Mr Hudson gets huge brownie points for the live web chat he did the other day with the Lancashire Evening Post – a massive win for web 2.0 local councils and local media.

Overall the council’s new website is a HUGE step in the right direction, web 2.0 seems to be coming to Preston City Council.

We asked, you twittered:

@prestonblog send a message out via twitter to see what preston people thought about the new city council website:

@GreyknightV6 said: great design, useless content. Example being, recycling: No info about recycling centres?!?!? Crazy!

@comosa said: Far too cluttered for me, links and info spread around everywhere makes it hard to navigate easily, but better than old one

What do you think of the council’s website? What else would you like to see on it? Did you prefer the old site? Let us know in the comments box below!

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