Website relaunched…What do you think?

Hi there again.

First of all, thanks so much everyone for your really useful feedback on the test site. It’s fair to say it prompted a lot comment, and even some vigorous debate!

We really appreciate your getting involved in helping us make the new site as good as it can be. We’ve taken as much of your feedback on the test site into account as possible and we’re pleased to say that the site has now been relaunched to the public.

Why not visit and let us know what you think?

The new site is only a week old so it’s still early days, and we’d really like to hear from you again on how it’s working for you, and what you like or dislike in general.

As always, please use the comments box on the blog to give us your feedback

Thanks again for your input, we hope you like the new site.

Council website redesign – Consultation now on!

Hi there

After many months of work in the background, we’re pleased to announce that we now have a proposed front page design for the relaunch of the St.Helens Council Website.

Please go to the test home page to have a look. Please use the comments box on this blog to let us know what you think.

Once you get onto the test site – you’ll find that much of the functionality is not currently working. However, you’ll be able to do the following:

– mouse over the news, event and “interact” images to change the images.

– mouse over the main promotional images  – these will ultimately link to appropriate pages.

– click, drag and drop the boxes in the centre of the according to your viewing preference

– click into the propsed News and What’s On pages

At this stage we’d love to know the following from you:

– what you think of the overall look and feel

– what else you think should be on the site

– what services you feel we should be offering online

Please use the comments box to let us know your thoughts, or if you can keep your comment to no more than 140 characters, the Twitterers amoung you can tweet or DM us @sthelenscouncil.

Lastly, thank you for your ongoing support and patience!

We hope you like the proposed new design. We look forward to receiving your comments.

New Leisure Services Microsite and Mapping Services page

Hi there again

Whilst immediate development on the main website is currently being concentrated on the eventual redesign, there is unlikely to be any major further developments visible until early 2009.

In the meantime, however, we’re pleased to announce the launch of the new micro-site for St.Helens Council’s  “Go Active” Leisure Services.

The new site follows refreshed branding set up to represent the service as a whole which will soon be visible across all leisure centres.

This is the first version of the site, which will soon offer online bookings. You can also find the centre nearest to your address with a google map.

Mapping  Services

On the subject of mapping, there is now a new mapping services page on the Council website. From here you can get information on both Google and PlanWeb OS platforms. There are also links to help pages for both systems.

What do you think of the page? Do the various map options work OK in your browsers? What else would you like to see us use mapping for?


Consultation Group

Also, please don’t forget to join our Web Consultation Group, to make sure you have your say in the redesign of the Council website. Simply leave a comment on this blog or email us to take part.

Thanks for visiting the blog.

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Jobs feed added

Hi again

The latest feature on the website is the addition of the latest jobs feed.

Whenever a new job vacancy is added online, the feed will be updated. If you’re interested in receiving the latest on all job vacancies at St.Helens Council, set your browser or aggregator to read it. You can get to it from the front page of the site, at the top of the “Popular Links” section.

As with all of our feeds, all updates will be sent through our Twitter feed.

We are also progressing with a proposal for the redesign of the site. Don’t forgot to joing our consultation group where you can get a preview on the new design and give us your feed back on what you think. As before, to get involved, just leave us a comment here or simply email us.

Also, please do let us know any comments you have about the site or any suggestions as to how we can improve our online services.

Thanks again for visiting our blog. We’ve had over 1200 visits since we started, so thanks a lot for your continued support.

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Join our website consultation group

Hi there

As phase 1 of the redevelopment of the website is now completed, we’re now looking towards the major redesign.

Our Web Team are in the process of putting three designs together for what the site will look like early next year (hopefully late February – March) and, from December, we need you to help us choose the best one.

To that end, we’re setting up a Website Consultation Group of users. The consultation will take place exclusively online with a discussion group hosted by Anyone can join the group, but you will need to register with us first so we can set you up with a password.

By joining the group, you will be given access to the three prototype sites and invited to share your comments on the forums based on:

  • General design
  • Accessibility
  • Navigation
  • Online services

To register with us, either leave a comment on this blog or email us.

For more information on what’s involved, again, please email us or call 01744 671609.

We anticipate that the consultation process will begin at the beginning of December, so please do join up soon.


Events Feed Added

Hi again

New updates to the website today include the addition of an events feed to the front page. You will now be able to see a quick snapshot of the variety of events that are on today, throughout the Borough. The data in this section is fed automatically from our constantly updated events database.

We’ve also added a link to our friendfeed in our “Interact with Us” section. If you’re on friendfeed, you can now follow all of our social media updates in one place. Currently it’s reading everything from Councillors’ Blogs, Twitter, Identica and Flickr.

Bar ironing out one or two minor glitches, phase 1 of the redevelopment of the site is now very nearly complete. As such, we’ll very soon be asking for volunteers to take part in our consultation to help us decide on a new design and test new features. If you’d be interested in taking part, please leave us a comment on the blog or simply email us.

Also, of course, let us know what you think of the new features to the site. Does the events feed work OK in your browser? Do you think it’s a useful feature?

As always, we look forward to receiving your comments.

Thanks for visiting.

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Top of the Social Media league…for now

Hi there

Owing to the one or two issues we’ve experienced with the website this last week, some other updates have been delayed. We hope this week to have some more new features up. Thanks for your patience.

In the meantime, we’re pleased to report that we currently appear to be a leading light among our Local Authority colleagues in taking up Web 2.0 to improve communication with our customers. Looking at the brilliant Talkwiki website and specifically the The TALK Social Media Map, shows that St.Helens Council currently has the most social media links and web 2.0 applications of any local authority anywhere in the country!

The following are listed as examples of our use of web 2.0
– Our facebook page
– Our Twitter feed
– Our Web Team’s Twitter feed
– Our Where I Live page
– Our Streetworks page
Councillors’ blogs
– This blog!
– Our Flickr page

and our two most recent additions:

– Our Identica feed
– Our friendfeed

As more and more authorities embrace web 2.0, we can’t imagine we’ll keep this position for long, but it’s good to see that our work in this area is being recognised.

What other social media / web 2.0 apps should we be using? What do you think of the way we’re using web 2.0? What other examples of good web 2.0 use should we be looking at?

As always, please do follow us or add us on any of the above to keep up to date with the work we do as a Council.

Thanks for your continued contributions and visits to the Web Development blog. The response and visit rates have so far well exceded our expectations. So keep visiting and keep commenting!


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Website problems today

Hi again

The St.Helens Council website is experiencing some issues today. We believe it’s a problem with our hosting company. The service has been intermittent throughout the day.

Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience. We hope it should all be back up and running OK in the morning.

You can of course still contact us here or via our twitter feed if necessary.


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Councillors’ Blogs and Flickr

Hi there again

First of all, thanks a lot to everyone who has commented on the blog this last week. I think we’ve all started to have a very useful discussion. So keep visiting and keep commenting!

Thanks especially for your practical comments on the page header we put up this week. They’ve all been taken into account for the overall redesign and they’ve been really useful in ironing out a few issues we’ve had with it this week.

As way of an update this week:

Councillors’ blogs. These aren’t actually within the site as such at the moment. However a microsite called Councillors online has been up now for some time. Currently we have 2 Councillors blogging and we received our first comment back this week. Please pay them a visit and leave a comment. What do you think of the site? Do you have any experience with producing Councillors’ blogs on your own sites?

– Our Flickr account is now up and running and features loads of really great shots of our Borough taken by various photographers. It will be continually updated. If you want to see what photos have been taken in your area, check out the map on which we’ve geotagged photos.

For your immediate perusal, here is an embedded slildeshow of our photostream:

Have you taken any shots of St.Helens? Feel free to add them to our photostream or add us as a contact on Flickr.

As usual, feel free to leave us any comments on this blog.

Thanks and have a great weekend.

New page headers

Hi there again

This week’s new development on the website is our new page header image, featuring randomly generated photos of the Borough of St.Helens.

The photography has been chosen to illustrate both iconic images of the Town Centre and also some images that show off the beauty and heritage of the entire wider Borough – currently including Rainford, Rainhill, Car Mill, Denton’s Green and Newton.

The header changes from page to page so you should get a different view of our Borough with every click.

What do you think? Does it work OK in your browser? What about the download times?

Do you prefer this header or the old montage image? What other images should we include? Do you have an image you’d like us to use?

Use the comments box or email us to let us know.

Thanks for visiting.

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Social Networking and Bookmarking added

Hi there

The main development this week on the St.Helens Council website is the adding of social networking and bookmarking options.

From the front page, there’s an “Interact with Us” section including more obvious links to our Facebook group and our Twitter feed.

We’ve also added bookmarking options to every page on the site. So please help us make an impact on the Digg and Delicious rankings by bookmarking us. (We may not knock the US Elections or iPhone news off the front pages for a while, but it’s a start!)

So, please check out the site, even if to just join us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.

Please start giving us your feedback also. What do you think of the changes we’ve made so far? What else should we consider? How do you find the bookmarking links to use? Please let us know by commenting on this blog.

Thanks a lot.

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New Where I Live page launched

Hi there

We’ve launched our new Where I Live section on the Council website.

It uses a Google map and postcode data to pin point your property and display all local services in the area. Using the Google map interface you can get the satellite imagery and walking / driving directions you’d normally see, plus lots of other things such as street works.

Please go try it out and let us know your comments or feedback.

Is there anything else we should include? Is some of the data not up to date? Use this blog to let us know.


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Welcome to our blog

Thanks for visiting the St.Helens Council Web Development Blog.

From October 2008 onwards, we aim to update our website to really improve our online services.

We’ll be using this blog to tell you whenever a new development goes live. For the moment, most changes to the site will be cosmetic. Over the coming weeks, we should have a new page header, more events information on the front page, bookmarking options, direct links to our various social networking pages (Facebook, Twitter and Flickr).

From January 2009, we aim to totally revamp the site – with more cosmetic and functional changes.

Please use the comments box on this blog to let us know any comments or issues you have with any of the developments we put online.

In the meantime, thanks for visiting the blog!

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