Re-Engineering Hackney Content weeknotes w.c 03/06/19

We now have a large chunk of Libraries live and on redirect, which means all visitors to these pages are directed to the new site at www3. Take a look. We dare you. 

You can tell us what you think as Hotjar is live and awaiting your call. Proving that (a) our feedback mechanism is working, (b) people want to give feedback and (c) we need a process to pass it to the service. We’re keeping an eye on volume for now. We’ve had 13 responses in 24 hours on the few pages that are live; whereas there’s normally one piece of feedback across the whole site in a week. 

Wider metrics are already being gathered on the website but we’re not entirely convinced they are finding their way to services. We want them to be able to view and understand metrics more easily so data can be used to inform content strategy.  We could just give everyone access to Google Analytics but that’s not going to win us any friends; instead we’re working to see if Google Data Studios can make everyone fall in love with pie charts. We suspect it’s a steep learning curve but it’ll be all downhill once mastered. 

Iain and Alan are busy reviewing and redirecting the rest of Libraries, Culture & Archives and we’ve now got a decent process in place to maintain the flow of pages. Our first helper, Nadine, joins us next week and Emma will be ensuring quality through the production line with her Rough Guide to Content Population. Available soon at all good bookstores.

We’ve been doing more work on merging Health & Wellbeing with Sports, Parks & Leisure this week and, if you haven’t already, please imagine yourselves in our scenarios. Our meeting yesterday with the services has highlighted the need for a third session around the naming of the categories. For example, ‘sport’ puts some off. And not just Spurs fans. Boom boom.

We all enjoyed yesterday’s Time Tree Fertilizer retrospective and gathered useful take-homes from it. Namely, we need to do more usability and accessibility testing; and what’s stopping us is the difficulty in finding recruits and the lack of kit. Carolina is following a lead on accessibility participants and Alan will be plugging social media to gather others. GDS will allow us to use their empathy lab but you’re pretty much left to your own devices with it; a mini-lab here would not go amiss.  

Another outcome of the retro was to establish clearer goals for the week. We are being ultra-Agile in this project as there’s a tight turnaround but acting and reacting in high frequency can leave us in a bit of a spin. Realising it would be nice to have at least one over-arching goal each week, we’ll be agreeing one every Monday.

Recruitment open evening – 12 June

We are inviting you to our HackIT offices on Mare Street for an opportunity to meet some of the people that work in the Delivery, Development, Digital, Data and Insight and Infrastructure teams.

There will be good chats, tasty nibbles and lots of excitement to take away. If you’d like to learn more about working with us, are thinking about a switch to the public sector or just want a faster commute, pop along next Wednesday. 

We will host 3 separate kickoff times, though you are welcome to hangout for as long as you want. The first will be at 4pm then 5pm and 6pm.

If you would like a more informal chat we will be heading to The Old Ship on Mare Street from 7pm and it would be great to see you there.

Register on Eventbrite

Please contact if you have any questions.

Re-Engineering Hackney Content weeknotes w.c 20/05/19

Our card-sorting with Health and wellbeing and Sports, parks and leisure is now go. Richard Smith has set us up with the online tool Optimal Workshop, which means we can get more people’s take on the reorganisation of these sections. The more really is the merrier with these sorts of exercises. How else will we drown out the crazies who want to call Stonebridge Gardens by its official moniker when we all know it’s the ‘Snake Park’? 

We’re also engaging with Births, deaths and marriages as they’re next to move in with us at www3. There’s no ring yet but you’ll be the first to know. 

With Mal Morris and Gerard Mason’s help, we’ve applied the security certificate to the sub domain and we now have a reassuring https on If you remember, this is where we’re hosting the new pages until the grand finale when it all switches back to plain old www. 

While we’re talking security, Mac Kelany will be doing a scan next week of the architecture; and Sarah Palmer-Edwards will be reviewing our PIA to make sure we’re not making any GDPR howlers. We’ll then start redirecting the existing pages to the new ones on Libraries, archives and culture. 

Gillian Newman has produced an excellent guide to testing website accessibility. There are many tools out there but we used the Chrome extensions Wave and Axe to do a first pass of our pages. They are not a substitute for manual testing but have thrown up some early errors that we can easily fix straight away.

Next week, we’ll be looking at the customer service data that Roger Patel has sent over to see what folks are not doing online. And we’ll be testing Carolina Gaspari’s global and in-page navigation. Mohamed Mulla has now coded anchors and accordions and we’ll start adding that content on relevant pages. Thanks to Nadine Salmon and Bruno Giachero for volunteering for content population. If anyone else wants to help us out with the old lift-and-shift, give Emma O’Reilly a shout.

The Snake Park, E8

Re-engineering Hackney Content: Show and Tell 16/05/19

See how happy everyone is?

Thanks to all who came to our Show and Tell this week. Our big news is we:

  • moved to WordPress API
  • launched five pages to live for Libraries
  • started to design the nagivation
  • added HotJar to gather feedback
  • started pulling together metrics

Dive into the details in our slides.

Re-engineering Hackney Content: Weeknotes w.c. 06/05/19

This week’s big story has been our pivot from Contentful. There’s a HackIT blog post where you can learn the details but the take-home is that we don’t believe the software is yet ready for a large, content-heavy site such as ours just yet.

Myself and our tech lead, Mo, laboured over WordPress versus Contentful back when he first started at Hackney. And, although it’s ultimately proved a detour, we’re not sorry to have made our journey into unexplored territory. The switch to WordPress API has created a small technical debt but we’ve been able to repay it within a week as WordPress has so much capability out-the-box.

Making this decision was not easy but, now it’s done, it feels like a great weight has been lifted off the team’s shoulders. And velocity is now really getting somewhere.

In other news, we held a metrics workshop with our Head of Digital and the Relationship Managers, as reps of the services. You could really go large with metrics on this project so we’re taking a measured approach with a suite of standard metrics; plus a couple of specifics tailored to each service’s needs. We’re meeting up with Libraries, Archives and Culture this week to discuss their requirements.

The standard metrics will gather data including mobile usage, customer satisfaction and page readability. We’ll likely need to add to our research toolbox with HotJar, Site Improve and Readable to test our hypotheses.

Our designer, Carolina, ran a navigation workshop on Friday with some of our design apprentices. We’re looking forward to sharing our progress on this with you next week after our show and tell.