Re-engineering Hackney content: weeknotes 7/10/19

It was touch and go at the start of last week but www.hackney.gov.uk is now definitely live. The homepage is out there singing its best song for Hackney with resident-centred editorial, top tasks and an array of useful signposting content. We’ve been responding to feedback hot off Hotjar and tweaking the top tasks to suit visitors. We hope to establish a mechanism whereby customer services can feed into this list on a daily basis, making sure it’s relevant to current queries. 

screenshot of homepage of hackney council
Screenshot of new Hackney homepage

We know we have work to do. Specifically, search is not quick enough and is not as logical as we want. And we need to anchor the navigation so that visitors know where they are in the site when they click on the menu. 

Developer Emma Lewis will be trialling Mohamed Mulla’s documentation on GitHub this week to make sure future developers can hit the site running. And we’re welcoming a couple of apprentices to help us clear out some of the design annoyances: any heading, icon or component that’s one pixel out, we’re coming for you.

We held a retro on Friday to work out why the DNS switch to live was so problematical when it’s normally a straightforward, five minute exercise. In our case, the site was sometimes sending you to the new site, sometimes the old. As if the machines had taken over and were forcing their own A/B test. Or, rather, Virgin Media had taken over.

After some exhaustive work with Virgin from Lindsay Rex, Mal Morris, Idowu Kusoro and Isaiah Oketola in Infrastucture, we were back on track by Wednesday. However, the retro gave us some lessons learnt to take forward that we’ll be applying to the Intranet launch this week. It was a really useful, instructive hour, due in no small part to Cate McLaurin’s sterling job as facilitator. 

One other surprise was the number of third party sites that had been hosting their CSS files on Goss, the old platform. This resulted in services including One Account, Planning Portal, Licensing and anything on the mginternet domain losing their styles. We were able to identify them quickly and host on the new servers but, medium term, these files need to be located with the rest of their code. We’re tracking down the owners now. 

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