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  • Overseas Interest in the Web Toolkit

    Found in Blog / Published 05 November 2012 / By Victoria Wray

    A great spinoff from getting this blog started is participating in a global conversation about the web.  We’ve definitely been watching what other governments are up to online, so it’s nice when this gets reciprocated.

    Australia’s Victorian eGovernment Resource Centre listed the Web Toolkit as a resource for Victorian public sector staff, and highlighted our guidance on how to handle a social media mishap.

    More recently, our very own Jared Gulian was interviewed by Chris Dorobek for a podcast…

  • Measuring content improvement

    Found in Blog / Published 05 June 2013 / By Alison Jack

    As part of a presentation I gave today to the Government web community, I talked about turning on the Flesch Reading Ease score function in Microsoft Word.

    This tool can help you determine:

    how easy or hard text is to read
    how difficult the words are — rare words are less well known than our plain English words
    how difficult the sentences are — long, complicated sentences cause more difficulty than short, simple sentences.
    The Flesch Reading Ease test applies a mathematical formula that measur…

  • Redevelopment of the domain name service

    Found in Blog / Published 09 July 2013 / By Jason Kiss

    The domain is managed by the Government Information Services (GIS) group of the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA). GIS serves as official registrar and moderator for domain names.

    Operation of the domain name servers and maintenance of zone files are outsourced to an external provider. The provider also hosts and maintains the website that Government clients use to request domain names and changes to their zone data. This online application is outdated…

  • “A glimpse of the future”

    Found in Blog / Published 14 October 2013 / By Colin MacDonald

    Colin MacDonald is the Government Chief Information Officer (GCIO) and is tasked with delivering the Government ICT Strategy and Action Plan, which was approved last June by Cabinet.

    Part of this work includes improving the way government interacts with New Zealanders online by changing our approach to providing information about services. A ‘beta’ website was launched in August to test out a better way to tell people how to get the help they need from government. The GCIO has a message for age…

  • What we copied from the UK, and what we didn’t

    Found in Blog / Published 05 November 2013 / By Jared Gulian

    When we launched the website in August 2013, people noticed its striking similarity to a certain website from the United Kingdom, GOV.UK. That was no accident. The UK website is an open source project that seeks to radically redefine government online delivery and share those innovations with the world. We took them at their word.

    But what exactly did we borrow from the UK? And more importantly, what did we do to ensure that our solution meets the specific needs of New Zealanders?…

  • 5 lessons learnt from testing on

    Found in Blog / Published 26 March 2014 / By Siobhan Cotter

    The project isn’t just about building a website. It’s about government doing things differently. The project approach involves using Agile development, focusing on plain English, and embedding a tester within the project team. It turns out that when you combine these elements, you get a wide range of unexpected benefits. In this post, Siobhan Cotter talks about her experience as tester on the team.

    On the project, one of the guiding principles being followed is that a fu…

  • User testing — an optimal experience

    Found in Blog / Published 22 May 2014 / By Andrea Key

    Optimal Experience have just completed the third and final round of user testing on the beta site. Their findings reassured us that we’re on the right track.

    Why test a beta site?The industry feedback we’ve received is invaluable and we’ve used it to refine a number of aspects of the site — thank you. is designed for our end users — ordinary New Zealanders — and it’s their needs we’ve been striving to meet. User testing works: it addresses functionality, interface design and conten…

  • RealMe takes out security & online safety award

    Found in Blog / Published 04 September 2014 / By Richard Foy

    Caption: Our shiny trophy with a view over Melbourne.

    We built RealMe (along with our friends at New Zealand Post) to create trust and confidence for the user and the organisations offering online services that require proof of identity. We didn’t build it to win awards. That’s just a cherry on the top.

    Yes, RealMe has taken out the Security & Online Safety category at the Australia and New Zealand Internet Awards. We were up against some stiff competition, and judging was tough, but ultim…

  • What we can learn from the Design Intensive

    Found in Blog / Published 10 November 2014 / By Joanna McLeod

    What can a super-speedy ride down a slide teach us about designing for customers? I found the answer last week when the Design and Innovation team from Result 10 hosted a Design Intensive for 40 public servants from various agencies.

    As a communications person, I think it’s important to break down exactly what kind of design we’re talking about here. You’re probably picturing me hovering behind a designer saying “Make it pop! Make it sizzle! But do it with the colours in our style guide!” Well,…

  • Discussion: Open Government and engaging with stakeholders

    Found in Blog / Published 14 November 2014 / By Susan Diamond

    Join GOVIS for an overview of New Zealand’s Open Government Partnership (OGP) and Action Plan, which was recently approved by Cabinet. This discussion will focus on how the public sector can facilitate better engagement practices with New Zealanders in the policy development process.

    Open government backgroundOpen government is about an ethical, honest and fair relationship between citizens and their government. New Zealand recently joined the OGP, a forum of countries working on more openness,…

  • The size and shape of government web

    Found in Blog / Published 18 December 2014 / By Jared Gulian

    As part of the Web Consolidation Strategic Assessment work, we’ve been looking at the government web domain and doing some analysis and categorisation. This work is part of our current state analysis, and it helps us understand the existing landscape better. We’re doing this work to figure out the best way forward.

    How many websites?Just how many websites does central government have? Back in July 2011, the Rethink Online strategy estimated that there were “approximately 600 websites across gov…

  • Design Overhaul

    Found in Blog / Published 05 February 2015 / By Meg Howie

    In December last year, I and two other designers from Open Lab, Laura Prescott and Finlay Brazier, spent a month reviewing the design and structure of the website. As recent graduates from Massey’s School of Design, and reluctant users of government websites ourselves, we were excited to have a chance to work on a project that could make navigating government much easier for a lot of people.

    The briefOur initial brief was based around the goals of to design and deliver informat…

  • High quality metadata supporting informed decision making

    Found in Blog / Published 15 April 2015 / By Stephen Ferriss

    The need for timely access to authoritative data for robust decision making has been one of the key lessons from the unprecedented upheavals wrought in Canterbury by the 2010-2011 earthquake series. In the pressure cooker environment of post disaster decision making we truly reap the rewards of a fully implemented Spatial Data Infrastructure

    Arguably, quality metadata is as important as the data itself, if not more-so. Metadata enables the user to establish the veracity of the dataset and asses…

  • Improving IRD content using analytics

    Found in Blog / Published 23 April 2015 / By Lana Gibson

    It goes without saying that as a government website we want to enable people to fulfil their needs online, without having to phone, visit or email government. But we can’t control how people access our content, especially through the castle drawbridge that is Google.

    What's the problem?Recently through analytics we found that people who wanted to access tax services online were landing on a page that provided Inland Revenue contact details. So we’ve changed the page to give people easier,…

  • CWP Case Study: New Zealand Blood Service

    Found in Blog / Published 10 July 2015 / By Asuka Burge

    What does the New Zealand Blood Service do?The New Zealand Blood Service (NZBS) was created in 1998 to provide safe, appropriate and timely access to blood and tissue products and related services to meet New Zealanders’ health needs. NZBS is responsible for developing an integrated national blood transfusion process from the collection drives to the transfusion of blood products within a hospital environment: a “vein-to-vein” transfusion service.

    For NZBS, our website provides important inform…

  • FYI: Brasil is unlocking the value of government information and data

    Found in Blog / Published 09 July 2015 / By Susan Diamond

    What’s the big deal?Governments around the world released over a million datasets open in the last decade. The aim was to spur the creation of jobs and the realisation of changes in society, including increased government accountability and consumer protection, more transparency in costs to the health system and more resilience against climate change.

    Why is it important?The analysis of these data, if done right, can help policymakers make better decisions, but they are just beginning to explor…

  • Google Analytics events - top five things to track

    Found in Blog / Published 06 October 2016 / By Lana Gibson

    A Google Analytics (GA) event might sound like a soiree held at one of their shiny offices. Unfortunately (or fortunately?) events are needed to track user interactions that aren’t covered by the core reports.

    Why do I need to use events?Events are user interactions with content that can be tracked independently from a web page or a screen load. See Google Analytics guidance for more information.

    You need to add events to your page code to tell GA to track some of your most valuable user inter…

  • FYI: book recs for re-thinking government

    Found in Blog / Published 04 August 2015 / By Susan Diamond

    Check out Luke Fretwell’s book recommendations for insights into re-thinking the way government works. Luke is the founder of GovFresh, which features public servant innovators, civic entrepreneurs and the ideas and technology changes in government.

  • Online engagement guidance launched

    Found in Blog / Published 08 September 2015 / By Nadia Webster

    The Online Engagement guidance is now live and ready for you to use. Read it. Use it. Critique it. While we have tried to make the guidance useful, it is a work in progress and we’d really like your feedback so we can improve it, so tell us what you think.

    The launchThe Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) and the Chair of e-Government at Victoria University of Wellington launched the guidance at an event on 3 September. It was great to see so many of you there.

    Guest speakersTo mark the launc…

  • Google Analytics screencast — Tip #2: Basic account setup

    Found in Blog / Published 17 September 2015 / By Nathan Wall

    Overview of the best way to set up your Google Analytics account.

  • Google Tag Manager: Why it’s the new hotness and how not to get burned

    Found in Blog / Published 09 October 2015 / By Giles Boutel

    For many, Google Analytics (GA) has become a de facto standard for web stats. It doesn’t cost anything, it’s easy to implement, and it will send you a lovely graph-laden PDF for reading, printing or framing, and to tell your boss how your website is doing.

    But GA has some disadvantages:

    GA tracks page-views based on URLs for pages that have the code embedded. If you want to track special activity like video watches or outward link clicks, you either have to place code in the HTML for each item…

  • helping older people access government services

    Found in Blog / Published 18 February 2016 / By Lana Gibson

    User quote from research session

    Last year we had our first discovery phase, where we looked into whether can help older people find out about and use the government services they’re entitled to. This group are notoriously difficult to get online, so we went in with our eyes open to the possibility that might not be much use for them. But by targeting family members and expert intermediaries as well as older people themselves, and creating clear, concise content that’s easy to r…

  • FYI: Agile and estimating user stories

    Found in Blog / Published 04 March 2016 / By Susan Diamond

    I’ve been working in agile project teams for a while and have developed an enormous respect for scrum masters and other talented people who can estimate user stories acutely. I tend to err of the side of overly optimistic…but that’s a topic for another blog post.

    As a reminder of why you should care about estimating user stories accurately, the US-based 18F team has some insights in the blog post, How user story estimation helps my team deliver value.

  • What's in the government web domain?

    Found in Blog / Published 10 April 2017 / By Victoria Wray

    We need your help!If you work on web in your agency, take a couple of minutes and have a look at this list of websites that are in the public sector. Any out of date? Missing? Great.

    Either add them in by emailing your updates to or you can use GitHub to edit the list. You'll need a GitHub account to do this.

    Why do we want to know?Knowing what we own and run is essential to being able to manage it. It means we can benchmark, measure quality, and analyse the subjects and…

  • SmartStart: a federated service life event story

    Found in Blog / Published 18 August 2017 / By Pia Andrews

    SmartStartSmartStart was the first “life event service” to be delivered by the New Zealand Government. The project set out to make it easier for New Zealanders having a baby to navigate their way around government services and to access services in an integrated manner. The web application was released on 5 December 2016, providing information organised around a timeline, and access to three integrated services through birth registration. SmartStart is overseen by a diverse stewardship group wit…

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