Monday, 28 February 2011

Thanet District Council and the Internet a Review part one searching the council’s main website.

If you are reading this blog then it is obvious that you are an internet user and it is likely that you will try to use the council’s website to access information, if you do this you will probably realise that the council seems to have a number of different websites.

http://www.thanet.gov.uk/

http://www.visitthanet.co.uk/

http://communityportal.thanet.gov.uk/home/

http://tdc-mg-dmz.thanet.gov.uk/

http://www.ukplanning.com/thanet

http://twitter.com/thanetcouncil

http://www.youtube.com/user/ThanetCouncil

http://www.thisismargate.co.uk/

There may be more I don’t really know.

The big difference between the council’s websites and the other local websites like this one is that we all contribute towards paying for the council’s websites.

The other big difference is that you may be using the council’s websites for official information, rather than just searching the internet in general to find out about something, like a local development or a local issue, so you may wish to search the council’s sites only.

I think the idea of the council’s website is to save them money by making information available without using up officer’s time, the trouble is that it doesn’t always work this way.

I have tried to get the council to cooperate with me on my intention to review various aspects of their websites, so far I would say that no one wants to.

My last major attempt to get the council to improve their website related to its search facility, what I tried to was to get them to use the free Google one like the one on the sidebar of this blog. I have moved it up to the top while I am doing this review.

After my comments they decided to replace the search facility that they had, this was the one that didn’t really work at all, with one the purchased from Microsoft, so I will start by giving this a go to see if it works.

I will use the search term Pleasurama.

First the council’s old search box that still appears at the top of the majority of the council’s webpages including the start page of their documents site http://tdc-mg-dmz.thanet.gov.uk/ This returns an error page.

Next the council’s new one, this appears on their main homepage http://www.thanet.gov.uk/ and some other council webpages and I believe they are paying Microsoft for this. This search facility returns 11 results for Pleasurama.

Next the free one on the sidebar of this blog this returns 47 results for Pleasurama.

Next I suppose one has to assume that here in Thanet some people may not be able to spell and some may produce the occasional typo, I can lay claim to both of these problems.

So lets choose Hartsdown for this test, I think it fair to assume Heartsdown is a miss spelling that some people could use, you get no results for the councils search box and none for the Google one on this blog. There is however a big difference the council’s one just leaves you out of options whereas the one on this blog says. “did you mean Hartsdown” and then goes on to give you 118 matches.

I suppose one could say that the council have made some progress on this issue.

2 comments:

  1. Word has it that some geek at the council has just found a new wonder website called......GOOGLE !!

    He is being heralded as the future of TDC computer systems and will be presented with a new badge tomorrow with an extra star on it.
    I knew our hard earned money was being spent wiseley....... Not.

    ReplyDelete
  2. tdc policy seems to be to make it as difficult as possible to find information that most other councils make freely available

    ReplyDelete

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