Tag Archives: mobile

How to get Bradford Festival alerts on your phone

At Bradford Festival this weekend you can get notifications on your phone about activities and performances that are about to begin as well as other festival information.

Your phone (or tablet) will need:

  • The latest version of the Bradford Council app. It has been updated this week to version 5.4.6 on Android and version 7.3.11 on iOS.
  • Bluetooth turned on.
  • A data connection, either through your own 3G/4G or via the free City Park Wi-Fi.

If you have all those things, you’ll be able to get our festival notifications.

The first time you walk into City Park during the festival you will get a push notification asking you if you want to subscribe to festival alerts.

Bradford Council app alert for Bradford Festival
This alert from our app will let you subscribe to further notifications about Bradford Festival

If you open this notification and subscribe to further alerts, you will then get notifications at the relevant times for things that are about to start. Each message will give you an option to unsubscribe if you no longer want to get the notifications.

We are delighted to be working in partnership with the University of Bradford on this project. The expertise of their mobile technology staff has been brilliant.

To send these notifications just to people within a small area we are using iBeacons owned by the University. The beacons are small battery-powered transmitters in fixed locations which emit a Bluetooth signal. This signal is detected by our app and this creates each alert sent to your device.

We’re really keen to trial new technology to improve the way we communicate with people and to enhance people’s experience and enjoyment of events. That’s why we are also trying out Snapchat for the first time at this year’s Bradford Festival.

The use of these iBeacons is a pilot and we would really value your feedback if you subscribe to these notifications.  We would love to find out if they worked as you expected and if they added to your festival experience. Continue reading How to get Bradford Festival alerts on your phone

Reviewing content for our new website

Helen Valentine of our web team has been working out which content on our current website needs to be kept as we move to our new website. Here, Helen talks about this process.

As part of the project to redesign our main website I have done a content inventory of our current website. This means that we know what’s on the website, which department provided the information, who looks at it, and how often it’s looked at. I started the inventory in May 2015, and it took about six months to pull together all the information that I needed so that we had a full picture of our website.

How did I carry out the inventory?

I started the inventory by looking at the site map of all the pages in our current content management system. I put basic information about all these pages into an Excel spreadsheet. For example, for each page we know:

  • which section of the website it is in
  • which department provided the information
  • when it was last updated
  • whether it is a page of text and images or an online form.

I also recorded whether the page was intended for anyone to read, for a specialist (e.g. for people who work in adult social care), or for Council staff.

Using Google Analytics and information from our Contact Centre, I added statistics for each page to the spreadsheet, so we know how often each page was looked at over a 12 month period, and how often someone used our web forms. We also know what proportion of visitors to each page used a mobile phone or tablet to look at the page, and how many of those visitors were using council computers. This last detail is important because we believe Council staff use our website in a different way to members of the public.

I also reviewed all the pages to see whether any information was available elsewhere online. For example, some of our food safety information could also be found on the Food Standards Agency website.  So we removed our copy of the information and linked to the FSA website instead.

In May 2015 we had 4,100 pages on our main website. Now, after reviewing the content, we have reduced this to 3,200 pages.

What have we done with this information?

In December 2015 we ran some workshops where members of different council departments discussed the new website and what information they felt they need on it. We used my content inventory to show the departments what information they have on the website now.

What will we do next?

In our first blog post about the new website, we said that we plan to have a public test version of our website (the “beta” website) available in February. We have used our content inventory to help decide which information we will put into the beta website first.  We will carry on moving content onto the beta website once it is live, and we’re using the inventory to help us make sure nothing important is missed out.

As the public use the beta website, we will gather feedback and usage statistics. This will help us refine the website to make sure it meets the needs of our users before we turn off the old website.

Thanks

I’d like to say thank you to Sarah Lay at Nottinghamshire County Council for the useful discussions we’ve had about carrying out a content audit. You can read more about her experience of auditing content and building a new council website on the Nottinghamshire County Council Digital First blog.

By Helen Valentine

Designing how our new website will look

Choosing a new look for the Council’s website is a challenging process with many things to take into consideration. Things such as:

  • branding
  • ease of navigation and access to relevant parts of the site
  • accessibility (how readable it is for people with disabilities)
  • how well it will work on a wide range of devices, from PCs to tablets to smartphones
  • visual appeal
  • compliance with various standards
  • download speed
  • and so on

Our first design ideas

The process started with an understanding of what we wanted to achieve through the design. Then we produced layouts using graphics software to create mock-ups of how the finished site will look, including examples of the home page, content pages and how it might look on mobile devices. To begin with, our web team created six completely different layouts, considering how they would look on different devices. Some of these initial designs are shown below. Click on any of the twelve images to see for a larger view.

The design idea we are now working with

Through a process of consultation and elimination and of tweaking the original design ideas, we finally arrived at the design that we thought best serves the purpose of the website. This is how the homepage looks in our new design: Continue reading Designing how our new website will look

Home page of the Bradford Council website

Our new website: help us make it work for you

We have started work on a redesign of our main website. The site will have a new structure and a new layout.  We want to make the new website work for local people as well as it possibly can.  So, we would like you to get involved in testing it and suggesting how you want it to work.

Why now?

We have to redesign our website because the current site uses old software that we can no longer support. Our new website will be built using Umbraco, which is open source software. The new website is being developed by our web team, whereas the current site was developed by an external company. Bringing the website in-house means that in the future we will be able to react quickly if we have to change the design or how it works. Doing the website ourselves will also enable us to save money.

We are designing the website so it is easy to use whether you are using a smart phone, a tablet or a desktop computer. We are also going to improve the information on the website so that it is easy to find and understand.

When will the new website be ready?

We hope to have the first version of our new website ready by February 2016. This will be a “beta” version of the website and you will be able to test the website to see how it works, whether you like the layout and design, and whether the information on it is useful and easy to find. Our current website will still be available while this testing is done.

Would you like to help us?

Are you interested in helping us with our new website? We would like to hear from you if:

  • you have any suggestions for what the new website should look like
  • you have any suggestions for what you’d like to be able to do on the new website
  • you have any comments about our current website or if you have any problems using it
  • you would like to help test our new website

Continue reading Our new website: help us make it work for you

App update for Android – you can now delete all alerts

Good news if you use our mobile app on an Android phone or tablet: you can now delete all alerts at the same time. Update your app to the latest version to start deleting.

To delete alerts go to the alerts screen then press and hold any alert.  This will show a new menu at the top of the screen.  You can then select several (or all) alerts, and delete them together.

How to delete multiple alerts on Android app
How to delete multiple alerts on our Android app

This update brings our Android app up to speed with our iPhone and iPad app which was updated in April, and we are delighted that all app users can now delete multiple alerts.

Continue reading App update for Android – you can now delete all alerts

App update – you can now delete multiple alerts

In the latest update to our mobile app you can now delete more than one alert at once. In fact you can now delete all alerts at the same time.

Lots of people have been using our app to get alerts about bin days, school closures or job vacancies. Lots of you have said that you wanted to be able to delete more than one alert at once.  So we have prioritised this development work and in the latest version of the app you can easily select multiple alerts to delete together.

Delete multiple alerts on app

 

The latest version of the Bradford Council app is available in the Apple App Store now. We are still testing the Android version, but we hope to put the latest version in the Google Play Store very soon.

If you have any other feedback about the app, please get in touch. You can contact us through the app, on Twitter and Facebook, or by leaving a comment on this blog.

And don’t forget, you can vote for our app in the Digital Leaders 100 awards.

Improving the mobile experience on our website

About 45% of people who visit our website are using a mobile device (smartphone or tablet). We have made some changes to the way the website works to improve the experience for people using these smaller screens.

The biggest change you will notice is on our homepage, where we focused on the things we know people use the most. On a smartphone, the first things you will now see are a search box, the A-Z and a list of top tasks.

Homepage on a smartphone before and after changes

We have made more subtle changes to other pages of the website. On a smartphone, the main navigation menu now sits below the content on most of our pages, rather than to the left. This allows the main section of the page to look bigger, filling the whole width of the phone’s screen. If you need to use the main menu on your smartphone, just swipe down the page and you will see it at the bottom. Continue reading Improving the mobile experience on our website

Get bin day reminders on your phone

We’ve all forgotten to put our bin out at some point. You’re lying in bed in the morning and you hear the familiar sound of the bin wagon in the street. You dash downstairs in your dressing gown and run after the wagon, dragging your bin behind you in the hope you can catch them up.

OK, maybe you don’t actually do that. But you need never forget your bin day again if you download our mobile app.

You can get a reminder from the Bradford Council app the evening before your bin is due out.  You’ll get the alert at about tea time telling you that your general waste, recycling, or garden waste are due to be collected the next day.

Other alerts – job vacancies and school closures

You can also get alerts for new Council job vacancies and unscheduled school closures. We are currently working on more alerts for the app too. If you sign up for updates from this blog, we’ll let you know when we add new features to the app.

Where to download our app

If you have an iPhone or an iPad, you can download the Bradford Council app from the Apple App Store. If you have an Android smartphone or tablet, you can download the app from the Google Play Store.

The Bradford Council website has more information about what you can do with our app.

Have you used our app? Is there anything else you would like it to do? If so, leave a comment below, we’d love to hear your thoughts.