This week the Information, Advice and Guidance teams have conducted Inception workshops to discuss the needs, priorities and capabilities of the proposed new Community Groups feature on the Council’s website.

Who attended the Inception?

We have gathered together representatives from Libraries, Adult Social Care, Stockport Family and Place as well as external Partners who will contribute to and use the new feature. In addition members of the delivery teams were present including programme leads, project managers and user experience and user research specialists.

User Journey
As with all Inceptions, the importance of bringing together so many different people lies in creating a shared understanding of the needs of all parties and jointly prioritising the capabilities which will be developed to make the best use of the Digital by Design delivery programme.

What have we covered?

We started with an exploration of the problems that both staff and end-users face when trying to access information on community groups. These included: out of date information, undetermined ownership of data, users not knowing what they are looking for, no single place for information and general confusion with the look and feel of current lists.

Having identified the need, this was the opportunity to look at all the breadth of possibilities that the feature could offer and then to focus in on those that offer the most benefits to most users. Agreeing the priorities that can be delivered over a relatively short time-span is essential if the customer experience is never to be compromised.

This also involved a detailed work-up of our user personas, including Council staff, Partners, Community Groups and residents. We explored their needs, motivations, pain-points and expectations in depth and this guided our shared vision and agreed shared plan for development.

The ‘Elevator pitch’ for the new feature was agreed as:

People who live in, work in and visit Stockport want to access and connect with local information and services. ‘Stockport Local’ is an easily searchable source of local information you can use to help you connect with services and activities across Stockport.

What might the Groups feature look like?

We have worked up initial prototype visuals for three pages: the Home Page, a child page showing filtered view and an individual Group page.

The home page would offer the user the option to set up a group or to start their search for a group:

  • Community Groups and Services wishing to submit a Group to the website should complete an online form, which will prompt all the necessary information. Moderation will be carried out by the web content team.
  • To find a group, various filters will be available in the search options, including filter by category, location, availability and price.

We would also address the needs of those users unsure what they are searching for by offering suggestions and short links to types of group eg sport or art, and direct links to popular local groups.

The individual Group pages will include a quick summary of information, plus full description, contact details, map and directions. In addition, there will be the opportunity to display Volunteering links, both for groups who are looking for volunteers and for individuals who want to volunteer.

For Groups that organise their own Events there will be the facility to link from the Groups page directly to Events pages and vice versa.

UX Design

When will it be available?

For the first iteration we will focus on creating the start page, filters, the ability to add new groups and to present them in more than one category and the facility for users to notify inaccurate content. Once this is in place we will test the feature in a live environment to allow all our Services and Community Groups to check the veracity of the information.

 In our second iteration we will add the volunteering feature, the facility to add images and a map and, once the accuracy of the information is verified, the ability to share the Group page on Social Media.

 Because the new capabilities will be built using much of the same code developed for the Council’s Events Planner and because we have reached agreement on a shortlist of priority features we hope to have our initial Minimum Viable Product available for release in around four weeks time.

Read next blog on the community groups directory.

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