We’re now two weeks into the consultation and we’ve already had lots of useful feedback through the blog and the formal consultation. Hopefully by now you’ve had a chance to try it out and have some thoughts on DirectScot.
The prototype blends information, services and campaign material from across government, at a national level from Directgov and Scotland.gov.uk and from four of Scotland’s 32 local authorities: Edinburgh City, Midlothian, South Lanarkshire and East Lothian. Using automatic location detection it then tailors the results of searches to your local authority area. To assist in showing you the breadth and depth of the services available through DirectScot, we have put together a range of fully-functioning user journeys.
Before that, a quick word of thanks to each of the local authorities for agreeing to be part of the prototype. The quality and structure of their websites helped greatly in trying to make sense of the vast amount of information in the DirectScot prototype. Special thanks to the teams at South Lanarkshire and Edinburgh City who provided an excellent critique as the prototype took shape and invaluable data on popular local services.
DirectScot is all about the citizen. We have purposefully resisted the temptation to point to everything (official publications on government policy, minutes of meetings, speeches from Ministers) in favour of focusing on the services and tasks that matter most to real people. Each task in the prototype comes with an additional ’help bar’ to give users as much information as possible about the next steps.
The prototype has several user journeys that we feel show off it off at its best. Here’s a brief explanation of the journeys and why we think they work. Try them out for yourself.
The Blue Badge Scheme
On Jan 1, 2012 a new disabled parking scheme (blue badge) came into operation. This is the first application delivered under the banner of DirectScot. Without DirectScot, the alternatives would have been to create yet another purpose-built government website or to have shoehorned ‘blue badge’ content uncomfortably into the Transport Scotland corporate website.
Booking a practical driving test
This journey is included as part of the prototype to illustrate DirectScot’s links with the services that are reserved to the UK Government such as passports, tax and benefits and motoring issues like vehicle tax and licences. The prototype uses the API (application programming interface) built by the UK Government’s Directgov website to syndicate nearly 2,000 articles into DirectScot. Future APIs could be used for other transactional services.
Often the number one searched for service on local authority websites, the ‘council tax’ user journey is provided as a pure set of search results in DirectScot, to show the capability of the search and discovery model we have developed. The DirectScot search engine prioritises tasks and classifies them with the ‘do it online’ label. The intention behind this approach is to help users achieve their goal as quickly as possible.
Traffic stats from the Scottish Government’s corporate website, scotland.gov.uk, show that information on Scottish bank holidays is very popular. In a search for ‘bank holidays’, DirectScot aims to enhance the user’s experience by automatically displaying related information like school term dates and information on child benefit payments during bank holidays as well as related services like holiday pay calculators.
Find jobs in Scotland
Finding information on jobs in the Scottish public sector is harder than you might imagine. Right now in Scotland, job adverts are dispersed across a range of different websites including MyJobScotland, NHSScotlandJobs and WorkForScotland. The prototype’s first aim is to help the user by bringing these sources together in one place. Longer term, through greater collaboration between public sector providers, we hope to make all jobs searchable via DirectScot.
Advice on Legal Aid
The Scottish Government has recently accepted recommendations from the Civil Justice Advisory Group calling for improvements to the online information available to citizens covering their rights and access to justice. The DirectScot prototype has taken up this challenge and established the ‘your rights and responsibilities’ topic. The prototype launches with the ‘legal aid’ topic but this will continue to develop into the full topic with new material being added throughout the consultation period to March 2012.
Tell us what you think. You can comment on this blog by leaving feedback here. Please also contribute your views as part of the consultation on DirectScot.
The DirectScot Team