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We are improving our website

16 October 2018

On the 15th October we updated the website to the first iteration of a responsive website. The main objective of the website upgrade is to serve all our customers better by making the website responsive. 

This means that it will adapt to the device that you are using, e.g. mobile phone or tablet. We also made the website more modern. In order to make the website responsive, we made some changes to the site structure. We hope that these changes will make it easier for you to find the topics and services you are looking for. 

We understand that it can be frustrating when things that you are used to change; especially when you need something in a hurry.  We have included a guide here which we hope will help in that scenario by informing you about where content is and what changes we have made so far.

Feedback, issues, further development and keeping you updated

We are working on resolving any issues and will continue to improve the site and add new features. If you encounter an issue we would like to hear from you. We will evolve this site with your needs in mind, by seeing what works for you and iteratively making improvements.

We would be delighted to hear your feedback or comments on any of these topics and how the new website meets your needs.
Email: webteam@clarecoco.ie.

We'll keep you updated about changes we make on the website (we'll add a link here).  

Very old browsers

The new website will not work on very old browsers such as Internet Explorer 7. If this affects you, please update your web browser. It's a good idea to keep your browser relatively up to date to help protect against security issues. 

Overview of changes so far

Responsive upgrade and responsive design 

We updated the underlying foundation of the website to a responsive and accessible grid-based layout. This means that it will display in a user-friendly way on mobile devices. Prior to this you had to pan around the screen. To do this we rewrote all of the code behind the system. This is a substantial change and essentially meant redeveloping the entire website over the last few months.

Navigation systems changes

We updated the navigation system to make it more simple and better suited to a responsive website. 

We updated the navigation menu to an accessible megamenu. For accessibility and usability reasons the sub-menu items display when you click on the parent menu item rather than when you hover over it.

Old site navigation menu

Old navigation bar

New site navigation menu

New navigation bar

Site structure changes

We updated the site structure to make it easier for you to find content. Our old content structure was very fixed and was based on the primary and secondary navigation systems shown above. This fixed structure no longer best represents our services and had a number of limitations. 
We now have a top-level Services menu. We have begun the process of reorganising the services sub-folders to make topics easier for you to find and also to better reflect organisational improvements such as new departments and priority areas. We also make use of features in our Web CMS to make content visible in more than one location where this is beneficial. 

Moving away from the fixed menu means that we can now make further changes according to user needs and feedback. We will continue to improve this using an information architecture approach and using feedback from market research.

  • There is a new top level navigation menu Services.
  • The menu items Planning, Roads & Transport, Emergency Services and Arts & Recreation are within the new Services menu.
  • Services also includes Rural and community development, Business, Water and wastewater, Environment, Waste and recycling, Motor Tax, Library, Economic development, Broadband Digital and IT.
  • There is a dedicated News menu in the main navigation bar. Previously it was a secondary menu shared with events in the top right. We now display images for most news items.
  • There is a dedicated Events menu to the main navigation bar. You will be able to view events in various timeframes, such as today, tomorrow, this weekend, upcoming. We are planning to add other categories such as free events. We can now display images for most events.
  • In the top-level navigation menu we have changed the label of Your Council to Council.
  • The sitemap is now in the footer as has the A-Z index.

Making the website more visually appealing and engaging 

Our preliminary user research showed that our users felt that we did not have enough images. Our site now makes ample use of images to help make the site more visually appealing and engaging. We have updated our templates to make better provision for images and photos. These include hero images - large banner images at the top of the page (home page, landing pages and many content or article pages), event and news images. 

Home page

The home page now includes the following:

  • A prominent hero panel showing an image and news item that we’d like to tell you about
  • An online actions bar to provide links to online services such as report it, pay online etc.
  • A card for each of our main site sections as follows: Council, Services, Living, Business, Visiting.
  • Recent service notices grouped by category. A counter badge indicates the number of recent notices in the last month.
  • A top requests bar to provide links to popular items, requests or highlighted actions (e.g. sign up for alerts, view jobs)
  • Highlighted news items – a panel of highlighted news items with a thumbnail image
  • A panel of event highlights with a thumbnail image
  • A panel to display our Twitter feed alongside a Met Eireann weather alerts map

Services landing page

The services landing page includes these items:

  • An online actions bar to provide links to online services such as report it, pay online etc.
  • A menu of services in tile format
  • A top requests bar to provide links to popular items, requests or highlighted actions

Other landing pages

Landing pages in general will have these items:

  • A top requests bar to provide links to popular items, requests or highlighted actions within the section
  • A menu of sub-sections

Content and writing for our customers

We are working with our team of content authors on improving the content in the website and how we write our web content. We have identified owners for all content items and aim to make sure that all content has been reviewed and is up to date. We have weeded a lot of out of date content or content that is no longer relevant. This work is ongoing on the collection of several hundred pages. Together with our content authors we will continue to improve the content with the aim of making it personable, easy to understand, relevant and helpful. We are working on including new types of content; in our Motor Tax section we have rewritten some pages in the format of more user-friendly Steps guides. We acknowledge that much of our content is written in language that is formal and in many cases difficult to understand and are working to change this. Market research is underway to find out about your expectations and inform how we can write better content and improve our website in general.

You can now easily give feedback about an individual page 

The majority of pages have a brief form at the end to allow you to let us know if the page is helpful or if there are any issues. 
If you encounter issues or have any feedback we would like to hear from you. 
We will evolve this site with your needs in mind, by seeing what works for you and iteratively making improvements.

We would like to hear your feedback or comments on any of these topics. 
Email: webteam@clarecoco.ie

Contact

Clare County Council
New Road, Ennis
County Clare

Page last updated: 16/10/18

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