THE DIGITAL PROWESS OF THE USER SHOULD NOT BE THAT IMPORTANT. LOCAL AUTHORITIES’ PLATFORMS SHOULD NOT BE A TEST IN ADVANCED DIGITAL NAVIGATION SKILLS. KEEP IT CLEAN, KEEP IT SIMPLE, KEEP IT CLEAR.
As a good rule of design, there needs to be a co-ordinated effort to write in Plain English, to keep ‘clicks’ to a minimum and to make the site visually appealing.
Simple clean lines and branding is important to help people navigate your platform and wish to come back when they require further information. Time spent on good design can prevent residents having to revert to phone and face-to-face meetings to get to the answers they were searching for.
iMPOWER has worked with a number of public sector organisations, applying a range of behavioural science techniques and tools to help influence people to change the accepted narrative of traditional state support provided in a paternalistic fashion. Instead to look at what they can do for themselves first with support from their own local community networks.
iMPOWER seek to use the initial information and advice provided by Local Authority websites to instill the outcomes of maximising independence harness local community support as well as their own strengths and resources as an alternative to more traditional and restrictive social care services where appropriate.
Around 15% of the population do not have access to the internet. Local Authorities’ might consider an assisted digital offer to ensure that these individuals have the same experience and choice as those who use the digital offer. This can be provided through a range of community groups (the same community groups represented online), who can also work with residents on their digital inclusion, providing training and support as the longer term objective should be that everyone has access to digital.
The digital benefits from good design and provides the opportunity to change the narrative from paternalist support to promoting and maximising peoples independence.
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* What is next practice?
Next practice’ is a commitment to a process not an end product. In moving from ‘best practice’ to ‘next practice’ we acknowledge that the best solutions come from development, not imposition. It is a process of development that never stops.