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ByMichele Ide-Smith

Social by Social review

Earlier this week I attended a workshop in London led by the authors of a new book entitled ‘Social by Social‘, which provides practical guidance about using social web technologies for social good. The workshop brought together a number of people who work in central government, social enterprises or charitable foundations who are developing programmes to support the use of social media by local communities. There were also several practitioners present, a few academic researchers and a fellow local gov web manager. It was a very useful opportunity to make contacts, map some of the projects that are going on, discuss some shared issues and work out how to share knowledge and learning from projects in future. Hopefully the conversation will continue on the Local Communities network.

sbs-bookI got stuck into reading Social by Social (which was commissioned by Nesta) as soon as it became available as a free PDF download, under a Creative Commons license. The timing couldn’t be better as I’m about to start a project in a rural area of Cambridgeshire working with a local community, voluntary sector organisations and public service providers. We’ll be trying out some of the new technologies described in Social by Social with the aim to improve community relations and improve links with service providers.

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ByMichele Ide-Smith

Search or browse?

This evening I checked out the new Lancashire County Council website which has adopted a ‘Google’ style home page – just a search box and little other navigation. Unless of course you go to the ‘classic view’, which is a link on the relatively discreet navigation bar at the top (highlighted with blue elipse below).

Lancashire County Council - new home page

Although it’s a bold move and I applaud any Council willing to step away from the category style navigation enforced by the Local Government Navigation List (LGNL) for many years, I am really not sure this is a good decision. I think Lancashire could find that a significant number of their users find the site much harder to use. I may well be wrong, but  it will be very interesting to find out what user testing results they get and what their website analytics show. But I have a hunch based on my experience of moderating user tests and what I’ve learnt about how different users behave.

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