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  • Writing for responsive design

    Found in Blog / Published 27 September 2013 / By Katie Johnston

    Katie Johnston, content editor on the redevelopment of, shares her approach to writing for responsive websites.

    People are online everywhere these days — not just on their home and work computers, but on tablets, MP3 players, smartphones and not-so-smart phones. We can’t guarantee how someone will look at our content, so we’ve designed to work just as well on a mobile phone as it does on a desktop. This is called responsive design. It’s different to a ‘mobile’ si…

  • Digital government revolution in the UK: get inspired

    Found in Blog / Published 01 November 2013 / By Victoria Wray

    Video: Change on the Inside: My Part in the Digital Government Revolution

    I love this video.

    Watching Neil Williams, product manager in the UK Government Digital Service, talk in a really personal way at the Dare Conference about the change they’ve been through in creating GOV.UK is nothing short of inspirational.

    I love the way he talks about the very human response to change. How his first thoughts about the prospect of website consolidation — from 300+ sites down to a single domain — were…

  • It’s not just users that we’re listening to

    Found in Blog / Published 27 February 2014 / By Alison Jack

    Thursday 27 February saw the first meeting of the peer advisory group. This group has been set up to discuss how we can improve the site and what type of future operating model we should develop.

    Group membersThe group is made up of representatives from across New Zealand Government agencies. Members are colleagues who are publishing content and delivering online services to the general public.

    Purpose of the groupThe group will:

    provide feedback on all iterations of

  • Testing comprehension of content on

    Found in Blog / Published 02 April 2014 / By Katie Johnston

    Lately I’ve been looking at ways to test users’ comprehension of our content on

    Traditional facilitated user testing only really tests whether users can navigate a site — “how would you do X?”, “where would you find Y?”. We’re trying to work out how to get beyond that: do people understand X? Can they make decisions from Y?

    It doesn’t seem like there’s a lot out there yet — which is pretty fun for me. It gives us space to do some experiments and play around with some ideas. I’ve…

  • Helping users find what they’re looking for

    Found in Blog / Published 28 October 2014 / By Alison Jack

    Since returning from my secondment to the project, I’ve been using what I learned to improve the search engine optimisation (SEO) of the Work and Income website.

    The Work and Income brand
    I thought that most Kiwis would navigate straight to the website because it’s so well known. I didn’t expect high numbers for people coming from search engines.

    Imagine my surprise that since January 2014 around 72% of external sessions originated at organic search (eg Google, Bing etc). In September…

  • Common Web Platform wins Open Source Award

    Found in Blog / Published 21 November 2014 / By Bene Anderson

    The Common Web Platform (CWP) was the winner in the ‘Open Source Use in Government’ at the 2014 NZ Open Source Awards. I had the honour of accepting the award on behalf of the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA), and took the opportunity to thank DIA and SilverStripe staff. It was great to hear about the people, projects and products from across a range of disciplines sharing their open source code. The setting at Te Marae in Te Papa was beautiful, and we were spoiled with a yummy dinner.


  • Opening government data

    Found in Blog / Published 28 November 2014 / By Aimee Whitcroft

    Mid November saw Christchurch invaded (in the best of ways) by the Nethui South crowd. The day before, Open Data Day 2014 saw people from NZ’s open government and open data spheres meeting, catching up, plotting and scheming.

    Again, in only the best of ways :)

    I went down to represent the massif. With me was my colleague Rowan Smith, there on behalf of He was also there to help me answer any particularly technical questions.

    I was there to introduce’s mission in…

  • Managing accessibility

    Found in Blog / Published 20 February 2015 / By Leigh Harrison

    An accessible website is one that can be used by people with disabilities. Ensuring that a website is and remains accessible takes ongoing effort.

    In 2013, the New Zealand Government issued its new Web Accessibility Standard. In effect, the Standard says that websites of mandated NZ Government agencies must meet all Level A and Level AA requirements of the W3C’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0. The Standard also requires that those agencies, when asked, assess and report on how…

  • Mapping the user journey

    Found in Blog / Published 19 March 2015 / By Corinne Cordes

    As part of our research into customer experience, we asked people going through one of four life events to map that journey for us using words or pictures. User journey mapping is a great technique for understanding the customer experience of events. It can also be used by organisations to get a better picture of all the steps a customer needs to take to complete a transaction.

    The life events we mapped were:

    beginning university study
    becoming a parent
    immigrating to New Zealand
    retiring from…

  • FYI: Thinking about using analytics or dashboards?

    Found in Blog / Published 22 July 2015 / By Susan Diamond

    Recent blog posts “Web analytics reporting: more than just pageviews” and "Web analytics dashboards: making reporting simple and easy" cover some of the work DIA is doing in this space. But we’re not the only government thinking about web analytics and dashboards. Check these out:

    In Australia, the Digital Transformation Office sees analytics as a tool to figure out what to fix, where to start and how we're doing. See their blog post, “Building better services with analytics”.


  • FYI: Keeping up with Australia’s Digital Transformation Office

    Found in Blog / Published 15 July 2015 / By Susan Diamond

    Things seem to be picking up speed in Australia’s Digital Transformation Office (DTO). You might be interested in:

    reviewing their new Digital Service Standard, currently in its alpha phase
    reading about their new leadership in “Introducing our new CEO — fresh from the UK’s Government Digital Service (GDS)”.
    We talk to DTO regularly, share what we're doing, swap advice and occasionally collaborate. With that in mind, consider:

    What do you think about the direction the DTO is headed in — d…

  • ANZIA Award winners

    Found in Blog / Published 17 September 2015 / By Danielle Crooks won our very first award at the 2015 ANZIA awards, which we attended in Auckland at the end of August. The team took out the 'Information’ category - which awards initiatives that bring information, knowledge and materials online, including giving people easier access. The Australian and New Zealand Internet Awards are open to organisations that have made significant contributions to the development and use of the internet in either country, so our team were thrilled to win.

    We dec…

  • Google Analytics screencast — Tip #4: jQuery Event Tracking

    Found in Blog / Published 25 September 2015 / By Nathan Wall

    A walk-through of the javascript we use to do some of our event tracking.

  • Google Analytics screencast — Tip #7: Going With the Flow

    Found in Blog / Published 05 October 2015 / By Nathan Wall

    User flows can sometimes confuse and overwhelm people. Find out easy ways to use them so you can learn about user behaviour on your website.

  • My (in)accessible Friday

    Found in Blog / Published 22 October 2015 / By Katherine Barcham

    It’s a refrain I’ve heard people say many times before: “Web accessibility is just for people with disabilities.” What they tend to leave unsaid is “And that doesn’t affect me so I don’t have to worry about it.” Very often these are people in a position to actually do something about the accessibility of their websites, and should be, if not worrying, at least thinking about web accessibility.

    I find this attitude really frustrating. Web accessibility is not just about the 24% of the population…

  • FYI: UK report on digital skills for government

    Found in Blog / Published 11 February 2016 / By Susan Diamond

    Everyone in the New Zealand public sector is talking about ‘going digital’ these days. Depending on your perspective, this can sound very intimidating or completely sensible. But what is the reality of government moving in this direction?

    A recent report, The digital skills gap in government (PDF 702KB), by the UK’s National Audit Office (NAO), has some insights to share on this:

    “Digital” is more than just technology, websites, internet — it requires radical, flexible operating models, desig…

  • Privacy statements: disclosing personal information

    Found in Blog / Published 29 February 2016 / By Jason Kiss

    In the interest of public disclosure, agency websites should inform users that third parties may be provided access to information they submit to the website, including via email. The absence of this clear messaging on government websites leaves agencies vulnerable to complaint or protest from affected parties.

    The Government Web Usability Standard requires that government website privacy statements indicate the uses to which collected personal information may be put by the collecting organisat…

  • FYI: Some advice on creating a positive user experience

    Found in Blog / Published 01 April 2016 / By Susan Diamond

    In a recent GovDelivery survey of more than 1,100 government communicators at the local, state, and federal levels in the US and UK, 45% cited driving audience engagement with content would be their biggest challenge in 2016 and 40% said driving customer satisfaction with online services would pose a problem.

    This GovDelivery blog post, titled "Trials and Testing: The Best Ways to Zero in on a Satisfying Citizen Experience" covers ways to test which types of communication are effectiv…

  • FYI: The Netherlands is paving the way for open access

    Found in Blog / Published 25 May 2016 / By Susan Diamond

    Since most research in the Netherlands is publicly funded, Dutch universities believe that everyone should have open access to scholarly articles. Read more about what's going on with open access in the Netherlands and other countries. A related article reviews the Dutch approach to open access.

  • Designing for vulnerability

    Found in Blog / Published 28 June 2016 / By Corinne Cordes

    Every so often new ideas come along that make you rethink the starting principles from which you design. Recently two ideas have come along to change my thinking when it comes to designing for vulnerability.

    A vulnerability spectrum?
    The first idea was Microsoft’s Inclusive Design Toolkit, which looks at disability as temporary, situational or permanent.  “The Persona Spectrum” is a brilliant, succinct reminder of how everyone can have impairments at times, such as when they’re driving or holdi…

  • GWC session: Result 9 — Better for Business programme and R9 Accelerator

    Found in Blog / Published 18 July 2016 / By Susan Diamond

    Sarah Berry, Communications and Programme Support Manager, and Sam Feder, Senior Communications Advisor, from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) will talk about the Result 9 — Better for Business programme, which is part of the Government’s Better Public Services initiative. It is a partnership of nine Government agencies working together to make it easier for business customers to deal with the Government by joining up services, sharing information and simplifying proces…

  • E-government in Estonia and 'Government as a platform' in New Zealand

    Found in Blog / Published 09 June 2017 / By Lee Dowsett

    Insights about Estonia
    Recently I attended a workshop as a part of conference in which Kaidi Ruusalepp (thanks Kaidi!) from Estonia took us through the experience of using public e-government services there. That experience as well as other contact I’ve had with Estonia informed this post.

    I think that Estonia has achieved a very high level of e-government through a combination of great skills, will and a supportive population. In a nutshell, using your Estonian e-identity card or app as a ‘key…

  • FYI: Heading structure and content accessibility

    Found in Blog / Published 23 August 2017 / By Katherine Barcham

    With a recent surge of interest in content accessibility, this article by Amani Ali titled "How to structure headings for web accessibility" is very timely.

    The article also includes a review of the heading structure on the home page of Gov.UK and some very practical advice for structuring headings.

  • New Common Web Platform (CWP) dashboard

    Found in Blog / Published 14 September 2017 / By Paul Murray

    Why we built a new dashboard for the Common Web PlatformThe Common Web Platform team have introduced a new Dashboard service that builds on the existing Deploynaut, introducing a better user experience and greater autonomy with deployments and user management.

    What are the changesImproved user interfaceWe believe that making changes to your services shouldn’t have to be stressful.

    The dashboard has a new and improved user interface. It provides a cleaner design so you know where you are and wh…

  • Let's talk about emerging technology

    Found in Blog / Published 06 October 2017 / By Nadia Webster

    TL;DRThe Service Innovation team at the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) recently ran a small workshop to explore emerging technologies like Augmented and Virtual Reality (AR/VR), Blockchain, and Artificial Intelligence (AI), and emerging trends around how government engages with the broader community for better public outcomes. Our colleagues at the Ministry for Social Development (MSD) kindly hosted the workshop at their excellent facility, many thanks!

    The workshop included presentations…

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