I wasn’t at the learning from better connected event this year, partly because the council stopped paying for the report last year, but mainly because I was busy launching a website. one thing I did see mentioned a lot was 3rd party integration with sites.
All of local government seems to suffer from the same disease: multiple applications that all have a ‘self service’ element or worse ‘customer portal’ and around the country web teams are pulling their hair out trying to work out how to offer the customer any form of consistent experience online. Why after all should they care you have a different system for FOI than the one for reporting street light issues?
integration comes in many flavours:
- There are the golden ticket integrations> where you can get the data, business logic and user authentication
- there are integrations where you can post information into a system & maybe get some reference returned
- there are integrations where you can change the appearance and behavior of the application so it fits with your site
- there are “integrations” where you can add a logo. <- these people are evil
Not unlike everyone else Liverpool has all of these to one degree or another - Day 1 & 2 post launch of the new site have been spent picking of the easy integrations the ones where we can change the appearance and sometime behavior of the apps - basically we’ve been skinning the applications.
So at the end of Day 2 we have
- Northgate Planning Explorer
- A really old Mapxtreme My Neighbourhood
These aren’t the biggest integrations, but they do help with the user experience, the aim is to remove any friction when the user moves between bits of the site - it makes the user more confident in the services and less likely to get confused between them.