It is the digital shop window and as such has to be inviting and easy to access and understand, with relevant information.
The County Council website has not changed much over the last few years, and although it held a lot of information - some may say too much! - often accessing that information was not that easy.
So we needed to have a really good look at our website to make sure it was user friendly , easy to navigate and up to date with relevant information.
We started on a journey of asking residents what they thought of our website, what they wanted and then developing a new website responding to the feedback from the various groups who helped us with our market testing.
It has taken a while, but there was a lot to be done including a trial test run and I am now really pleased to say that, today, (March 25), visitors to www.westsussex.gov.uk will find a site that’s quicker and simpler to use – and it looks a whole lot better too.
This redesigned website really marks the start of a new focus on customer excellence for us so it’s the first, exciting step, towards a much bigger programme of work of which you will be hearing more about over the coming year.
Having tested it myself I found it quick and efficient and finding the information you require is now a much more straightforward task – thank goodness.
At first glance you will immediately notice a huge difference to the design – it is much tidier, and cleaner therefore much easier to access the points that you really want.
Our selection of tabs, which group together the things our customer most want to do ensure that searching for things such as your local councillor, travel updates and road repairs are much more accessible.
We have completely overhauled the search function on the new website because we know people do not want to be bogged down when visiting us online. They want what they want quickly and within just a couple of clicks so we hope that you now find searching for information is as responsive as you need it to be.
With more and more people using and relying smartphones and tablets wherever they are – in the office, at home or on the go, we have made sure that the website really meets these demands and is much more effective on your smartphone or tablet device – do try it and I am sure you will notice and immediate difference!
As I mentioned earlier the website has been designed solely around the needs of our residents as that is really important to us – so wherever you are, whatever you are doing and whichever way you are accessing our information it should be simple and responsive to your needs .
In my view, it is a website fit for the future – thanks to the comments from residents and regular users of the current model – and we believe you will find it a really useful tool.
But it’s very much work in progress. As I said before, it marks the start of a much wider programme of work around improving our customer service
We know that no great website should never remain static, it needs to evolve. So we’ll add to ours over the coming weeks and months with more features that will make it even easier to go about your business with us online for those who want to. So let us know what you think.
However we know that there are residents who do not use the internet and I want to reassure everyone that we’ll always make sure that people who do not have access to the internet or do not use it are not excluded and that the customer service they receive from us is just as good as the digital service through our website.
Louise Goldsmith.Leader West Sussex County Council
Chichester West Division.