Raw data of council meetings, statistics, records all available as Linked Data
When a user encounters an error page they should be able to click a link that automatically sends the necessary information to the webmaster. They should not have to read a page of instructions on where to find the information and expect them to put it all into an email.
Incomprehensible URLs that mean nothing on sight are not useful, but http://mycouncil.gov.uk/wards/edgbaston/councillors is self-explanatory, and good for google.
All pages on the website should make it easy for the user to vote as to whether it was useful or not, so poor content can easily be identified by the web team.
Don't spend £2.8mil on your website - use third party applications and services where possible (Google etc) to add value to your site without the need for scoping new features into your already bloated CMS.
There is nothing worse than being pushed to a service that's not technically part of the website and being met with an alien gui. If you're bringing another, developed service in (for example, The Meeting Factory on Lincoln's site - http://tmf.lincoln.gov.uk), skin it up to look like the rest of your site.
Encourage interactive interesting discussions about particular elements of a proposal - say, a new Local Plan - rather than shoving a large indigestible document out there and allowing the usual suspects to fire back a single (usually predictable) "response".
Although the user has been championed elsehwere, I think taking a holistic, iterative user centred approach is key to making a good website (as per the ISO standard 13407). This includes: 1. Defining the audiences and context of use. 2. Researching/defining user needs (using analytics, customer feedback, interviews, surveys, user testing on current site). 3. Designing the user experience based on user needs. 4. ...more »
Allow local residents to initiate petitions to council on the website.
As a minimum: 1) Ensure Media/Press Centre link can be easily located on homepage 2) Media centre homepage should display an up-to-date list of the most recent press releases with date of publication. 3) Press releases should also be available to journalists via RSS and via registering for an email alert. 4) Provide archive of press releases by month and year. 5) Press releases should NOT be published as PDFs or Word ...more »
Publishing of information in formats other than (X)HTML should be resisted, while perhaps relaxing this for statutory documents that must be published by a local authority while not really being of general interest to the wider public. If your website has a section on downloading Adobe Acrobat Reader, or the various Microsoft Office viewers, you should consider it a failure.
Don't have a citizen have to search for the often needed and relevant information they are interested in e.g. next bin collection. Allow them to personalize the site e.g. postcode on the BBC site brings local news and weather to the front page. Even better, allow this information to be mashed up on other sites e.g. iGoogle so the citizen doesn't have to go to the website to read this inforamtion!
LGNL is not user friendly but is important for site indexing.
Offer multiple paths to allow users to find what they need quickly.
And RSS. But maybe I'll post that elsewhere.
Rich links (well-maintained) between "our" site and other local and national agencies' sites