The web is boring
Sure, it has lots of fancy widgets & whizz-jangles. But when it comes right down to it, it's just a tool.
The web is about as exciting as a phone line or an email inbox. And it's hard to become breathless about those.
The truth is that none of these tools are important in themselves. It's only what they can do for us that matters.
In that sense, the web is incredibly useful - especially for government and higher education.
In fact, it's almost as if the web was designed with them in mind. For example:
- Large distributed audience? Check
- Numerous obligatory multi-step applications? Check
- Vast data gathering & processing requirements? Check
If the web didn't exist and someone described how useful it could be for us, we'd probably laugh at them.
"That's right. If we publish good quality content & create usable online forms, this 'web-thing' will save us hundreds of thousands of Euro per year in customer handling costs by substantially reducing the volume of calls, emails, application-errors, mistaken applications & mistaken office visits we get, as well as improving data quality & speed of processing. Not only that, a good website will make our customers happy, make us look good, improve our reputation and reduce our business/legal risks from out-of-date information."
"What a dreamer!"
Of course, reinforcing a website with high quality content & UX is only the 'means'.
The key challenge is measuring the effect. Are you achieving the 'ends' that you want?
- Are the volumes of email/calls/queries changing?
- Are the topics/questions from customers changing?
- Are users' subjective opinions changing?
- Is the quality/completeness of applications changing?
If you don't 'close the loop' in this way, it's inevitable that you'll spend your limited web resources on the wrong things.
So keep monitoring & measuring things to fine tune the tool that is your website.