Showing posts with label Digital Greenwich. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Digital Greenwich. Show all posts

Friday, 27 November 2009

Digital Greenwich .-

Yesterday was the final presentation of Digital Greenwich. I wasn't satisfied it's a fact but I know that if I wanted to be proud for this project/presentation I should have done 10 times of what already did. Which I think was already more than my part anyway. Was it worthy (the angst and the time) to take this project personally? I gave it a chance TBH, to give my 100% so the presentation could be spectacular but didn't work. When it's 8 people, you cannot control it. Also, it's hard when you have to deal with people from different areas, a different way of thinking; many times we couldn't even understand each other. In my Bachelor degree it was much easier to communicate. Maybe because we were all from the same field.. we shared the same way of thinking or what. Am I glad that it's over? Yes I am.

Vamos Greenwich
Yesterday I sent an e-mail to Luke, Mr. Shaun's assistant, with the research I did around their council website, the review and suggestions for improvement (compared to other London's council-websites). Today Luke replied that he found it really interesting and they'll probably use it somehow and that made me fill a bit better about Digital Greenwich. He also said they really appreciated what we all did for their borough in general. In the end, maybe we Did (!) something for Greenwich.



Obladi oblada, life goes on lalala
My real concern about this project yesterday was that my mood, my temper to be good in my studies and all, was so screwed. =/ Thankfully Martin didn't waste time and introduced us to the next project. That helped me find my motivation for the course again.. Also Victor and I we've been thinking seriously, to improve our Mojaic project, as it's not much what we need to do, so it gets a good grade. I'm pissed off with C+ anyway! Obladi oblada life goes on lalalala and my individual project is (as Victor says) wicked !!!!!! =)

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Digital Greenwich - Nearly there (Plus 2 new features!)

As mentioned in the previous post on topic, I was going to edit and merge the ideas ever heard on Digital Greenwich and make the structure and slides of the presentation. TBH I struggled a bit both in the communication / co-operation with the other members as well as in the presentation, trying to shape one single proposal from such a multidimensional concept. It's true I enjoyed it in the end =) I have already put some notes in several slides and Neil will go on with the complete narration, since he will be the presenter.


New Features
I also added a couple of new features:
 Residents' Demand  - A concept used in New York with vast success. It's an online service in which residents either submit what they want from their borough or vote for it if their request already exists. Every month the top-5 according to voting requests will be accomplished by the council.
 Vouchers  - That was Martin's hint mentioned as a tactic used by Ogilvy which also replies Paul's comment: "Why would they come to you? Give them a motive." Free vouchers make the residents use our services, while in the same time promote local businesses and bring money to the council.

Friday, 20 November 2009

Digital Greenwich - Composition

I was kind-of frustrated with this project (not any more!) and that's why I didn't post anything for a week now on this topic. My problem was that in a general sense everyone in the group thought we should produce stuff; draw the building, design t-shirts, make the website theme etc. My part was (surprise!) the website and, though i started it  (my obsession with the grey palette lately is obvious) something felt completely wrong, like it wasn't worthy to go on with the website.





Apart from this project I started reading books for my essay for the Research Class, so I went on with that and kept the Greenwich concept in the back of my head. On Tuesday I was summing up my notes on Digital Greenwich, in which it was clear that the council is asking us for ideas - alone. And then I read the brief once again, which said "Produce a proposal..". At that moment I thought that the missing part was how all these ideas which were plenty and interesting (approved by Martin) could be combined and make a sense as one concept. 


So I gathered all the ideas we have ever said for Digital Greenwich (Apolline and I did this together) and tried to combine them. In my presentation I wanted only to refer these ideas, because most of them were not mine, so it won't be fair otherwise. Then I thought Marketing could be the node which connects all our ideas and, since I'm keen on Marketing and Advertising anyway, I studied a bit about that. The outcome was this presentation:




To-do
On Thursday we had the scheduled meeting with Martin and showed him our progress. Now the project is at the last stage which is the presentation. My part is to create the presentation (slides and narration) and truth be told I asked for it. I think we had many good ideas and a really nice concept could come out of it. I'll definitely do my best.. The bad thing is that it's not easy; to make a presentation which is (1) helpful, (2) makes sense and at the same time (3) captivates the audience. The good thing is that I'm so into it.. =)

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Digital Greenwich - DG Online

In my group on "Delivering Education" we weren't able to meet the last days so we wad to work separately. Adam is working on the DG building (mentioned in older posts) I am working on the website of the DG concept and Neil on the services/courses etc. which will be provided in the DG building. Additionally, there was a change in our plans; instead of many small DG buildings all around Greenwich, we thought it would be better if there was only one iconic DG building with a very busy agenda of courses, events and activities going on there. This would be placed in Woolwich, as an attempt to face the problem at its core trying, in an attempt to upgrade the area Mr. Shaun encouraged us to work on.

The DG Online web application, which will be the major software in the DG, aims to provide information about the events talking place in the DG and apart from that to be a website which promotes culture in Greenwich (the way is explained below). Additionally, looking at the Greenwich's council website, it is full of stuff and activities with Youth Centres and extra curricular activities for children and millions of courses for adults. So, DG Online tries also to take advantage of all these courses and activities already taking place in Greenwich to make sure all users are aware of them.


Since the project is conceptual I draw a Mind Map of the website I would recommend. Click to enlarge:


Serving DG's needs
Starting from "DG's operations" the staff will use this website to keep the rents and bookings made in the DG. This will be really useful since every user of DG Online will be available to look at his/her account; what needs to be returned, until which date etc.

Library
The users will use DG Online to search across the Library DG has to offer. Also, Greenwich provides an on-line ibrary service which searches across all Greenwich libraries and shows if there is a book available with the criteria entered in any of the borough's libraries. So when the users are looking for a resource they will use a search engine which looks at both the DG's library and at all the libraries of Greenwich. Additionally if there are any resources in digital form they will be available in the DG and online. Resources with Copyright restrictions will be available in digital form only in the DG.

Agenda
The DG will have a busy agenda with lectures from academic tutors and projection of films etc. Neil is working on that. Here in the form of a calendar DG's agenda will be shown along with other educational events/activities taking place in Greenwich, like Reading Groups. Agenda contains only events and activities which are not in series.

Courses
When it comes to learning cycles of 2 or more lectures this event will be placed in the Courses section. Here is an attempt to combine DG's schedule with the spectacular (at least in numbers) bunch of courses provided in Greenwich. The thing is if someone is interested, a visit in one place and a few clicks to be enough to get informed and find the right course for him/her.

All the aspects of the website mentioned above have to do with the services offered in the DG. Apart from that, DG Online will be an online place for culture which provides meticulous content and where the visitors can get involved.

Motivator
The first time I used a computer which was on the internet I had a blank Internet Explorer in front of me, and though I could realize this medium's power I couldn't find anything to type in the address bar. Arguing with myself I could say this was ages ago, and indeed the solution to this kind of problem comes with "www.Google.com". But what I saw from my mother for example is that the same situation occured to her when looking at the cursor blinking in Google's textbox. It took her quite a while to learn how to use the Google.

To take DG's users out of this uncomfort zone in DG Online in the front page probably there will be a catalogue of interesting stuff found either on the web or offline. It will be sorted by date and updated in a daily basis, selected stuff which has to do with Arts and Culture and either hosts or redirects to interesting findings that could motivate its readers.

DG exhibits
Thinking of the LiTRO free-press literature and the concept of involvement, I thought it would be nice to have a kind-of monthly magazine which includes some artworks of Greenwich's residents. The way this could be developed and have chances to be successful is:
1. DG will have an exhibition space for all these artworks
2. Residents interested in that, or who consider they have artistic skills will sumbit their work.
3. This work will be curated and then exhibited in DG
4. The new additions in DG's gallery will be published monthly.

DG's gallery could contain any type of artwork, from paintings to digital artworks. Also, there will be seperate  space / room for artworks which have to do with Greenwich, entitled with something like "Greenwich seen by its residents". This will also help the borough to display its identity via art, since a borough is neither the land nor the urban scenery but its residents.

Other
To provide something more complete, it would be nice to have a section with news and recommendations for movies, music and exhibitions running. Of course links to all the other activities taking place in Greenwich will be provided through DG Online.

Target group?
It will be the same with the DG's target group mentioned in the previous post and the general build of the website will be as iGoogle, in terms of: it provides everything but everyone of us takes only what he/she needs.

Concluding
I don't know the quality of the services (which are millions) currently provided in the borough, but I think a better management and promotion of them and would be what Greenwich's Education aspect needs before anything else. I would suggest the use of a Poll to see whether the residents are aware of all these facilities provided by their council.

To-do
Today we have a meeting with Mr. Shaun, so we will move on according to his feedback.

Friday, 6 November 2009

Digital Greenwich - Delivering Education

Yesterday we were divided into 3 subgroups to look in greater depth at three key areas; Identity, Tourism and Education. Adam, Neil and I formed a group and our task is to find concepts for delivering education in the borough of Greenwich. We had a 30' meeting yesterday in which we thought of some concepts we could start from, which Mr. Martin later approved.

In general, our solution has to do with a building, actually a network of them.

DG talization
The building called DG (the initials of Digital Greenwich) will be a centre of education and information. Its target group will be all types of residents: teenagers, students, adults, older people, disabled. DG's purpose is to provide resources such as internet access, books and magazines, as well as educational courses for the focus groups stated above and subgroups of them (ex. parents < adults). The concept is to have the largest network of DG buildings possible, aiming to cover all the neighbourhoods of the borough. That means the library offered in each one of them doesn't have to be the Royal Library of Alexandria, neither the internet connection a fibre optic one. The planning should be done wisely making savings from everything so the council will be able to raise as many DG buildings as possible.

DG's form
DG will be available only for residents and will require membership. Discretely if possible, security personnel should operate in the building since it will contain expensive equipment. Each DG will be divided into three areas:
 A  Youth Centre
It will mainly be laboratories which means, computers connected to the internet, also wireless internet, plugs and desks for laptops, as well as library with books and magazines the teenagers are most interested in.
 B   Library, Work and Coffee
It will be like the Borders-Starbucks combination in Angel and it will host the main body of the library.
 C  Older people's Tech Centre
The major reason for this area to exist is that it's all there in the Google, isn't it. There will be equipment and staff to help all those Over-50 people to take advantage of the ultimate medium of our era.

A draft floor plan of a DG is this:



The youth of today, has lots to say
Our concept kind-of "invests" in the teenagers since they would probably be the group of residents most interested in the DG and they (hopefully) would like to get involved with it. A way to take advantage of it, would be in their application for being members of the DG, to  fill-in their skills, ex. Painting, Juggling, Web-Designing, Programming etc. With thoughtful management of those skills each teenager IMHO would be delighted to contribute to DG. For the skills stated above Painting could apply for designing the walls, Juggling for events for children, or Juggling events which are wonderful to watch (many people juggling), Web-designing for the website mentioned in the beginning, programming for applications used in the DG either from the staff or the residents.

Website
We additionally thought of a space in the web, which could be mainly maintained by the teenagers and the students mentioned before, under the direction of staff. News and events taking place in Greenwich will be posted in the website, as well as the activity (courses, events, resources which provide) of all the DGs. Forums could be also really useful since they have the ability to update themselves - no need for new content - All they need is just a careful maintenance.

Library
 Books  The Library should contain lots of books written about Greenwich for contributing to the goals the Identity team has to achieve. The rest of the books should be ordered according to the demand, so there won't be any money wasted. The same should be done with Magazines and Newspapers.
 Free Press  Enhancing the cultural side of the DG a free booklet could be published as LiTRO is, and DG's members should be encouraged to contribute to it. A large portion of the content could come from the teenagers and the students. Even if that is not possible, because of low percentage of the people involved or bad quality of the content provided, the dealing of this kind of free press, which is cultural or artistic should be a "must" for every DG.


Peace at Home, Peace in the World
This quote belongs to Kemal Ataturk and applying it to Greenwich translates like, if this borough wants to solve its criminality issues, bringing peace at its residents' homes is the solution. And is there any other way to bring peace than education? So, courses for parents will take place in every DG, and in the areas which criminality reaches the top, these lectures should even be mandatory, because it's the only way to solve the problem at its very beginning.



To-do
Mr. Martin asked to define our concept better, then its focus groups and also how Ravensbourne would participate in it, so these are the topics my group and I will be working on.

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Digital Greenwich - Website, Suggestions for improvement

As promised in the previous post on Digital Greenwich, I did a kind-of research on the websites of the other 33 Councils of London.What I got in my research is that the website's content is similar to all boroughs, so it's all about the display of the information. Here is a list of ideas I found in my research and I would recommend to the Greenwich's website to use:

>> List of Favourites  I saw that in many websites as in http://www.camden.gov.uk/ and it is really useful since it automatically adapts to the visitors' demand, displaying the services with the highest possibility the visitor to look for them.

>> Find your Nearest  A control in which the user enters the place he or she is interested in (ex. Parks, Libraries, Recycling Sites) along with his or her postal code. Though it's a very useful feature, I saw it only in a few websites; one of them is http://www.brent.gov.uk/

>> Design  A crucial factor for every successful website is to have a pleasing and easy-to-use interface. Many councils have done a good job on this area with websites such as http://www.hackney.gov.uk/ and http://www.islington.gov.uk/. There isn't something super special in these sites, but this minimalistic, aesthetically correct and practical interface.

>> Visual Categorization  At Sutton's website the most common buttons and links are grouped into boxes, something I think it's really useful, as it helps the user to find quickly what he or she is looking for. The use of icons also helps in this direction.

>> Search  There isn't a quicker and easier way to find what we want in a website than an effective Search. The website of Westminster makes the most out of it having an extra large search box shown when the user visits westiminster.gov.uk. There is also a thoughtful categorization so the user is able to either search for services, or maps, or payments etc.

>> Feedback  In my research I met 2 types of request for feedback. The first is the usual story with the screen going dark and then a little window showing "Please take our survey" in which I instinctively click "No." because I want to read something behind the grey shade. The second was a very cute one which looks like that:



The feedback it provides is not much at all, but it's enough to get a general sense if the website's visitors are satisfied and the level of satisfaction. Also, it definitely has more chances for the users to click on it, than the first one, as it is sweet, straight-forward and asks for only one click!


Surplus features

Social Networking In many websites (as in http://www.lbhf.gov.uk/) I saw a social networking corner with "follow us on twitter" "digg us" and all, but in Greenwich's case where the percentage of the internet users are lower than 50% I think it wouldn't make a difference.

Ajax The borough of Redbridge gives in its website, http://www.redbridge.gov.uk/, membership along with the highest level of customization possible to its users. Hm =/ I don't know if it makes sense because firstly I don't like the procedure of creating another acount, but if it's my borough.. and I visit its website often.. maybe it would be nice everything to be in the place i want.. as in iGoogle?! Nada, I wouldn't buy it.

Monday, 2 November 2009

Digital Greenwich - The website review

As I mentioned in the previous post on the Digital Greenwich project, I was in charge of finding whether the Greenwich council is doing an effective use of the web as a medium. The overall result, in my opinion and regarding my review, is that the website for the borough of Greenwich, though it could be upgraded in many aspects, is built in a way which tries to satisfy its visitors in the best way possible.



"I'm trying here.."
First things first, I visited www.greenwich.gov.uk and browsed it randomly. The interface could be much better, but it might just be me, as I don't like this not green color. Apart from the over-than-average user interface, I really appreciated the sense that the site was "shouting": 'I'm trying to help you find what you're looking for in the fastest and easiest way'. Functionality is the point and something functional cannot be anything but beautiful anyway. So:
1. There are many links in the first page. This increases the possibility for the visitor to find immediately or in just 1-2 clicks what he or she is looking for. However, this has a major disadvantage, since a large number of hyperlinks in a single page makes the user to get lost, but:
2. The font size is satisfactory, the texts are short and the layout of the objects displayed is clear-cut. All these factors make the homepage and every subpage of the Greenwich Council website easily understandable, readable and navigable.
3. The level of customization is really good with the option of increasing/decreasing the font and
changing the theme (albeit there is no chance to avoid the not green colour completely). Also, I like the hyperlink for listening the page, when unable to read. I mean, which way better a site could say, 'Hey, I'm trying to help you here..'.


Content
In my opinion, there isn't any better way to check a website's content than its Site Map, a tactic which works similarly for books. Looking at the site map of greenwich.gov.uk a man can see tons of thoughtfully categorized (for navigability's sake) services, which try to anticipate every single reason for which, the user could have visited the site. This is not easy if we take into consideration that the user group of this particular website includes: Greenwich's citizens, businesses, tourists and dozens of others. Overall, everything seemed straight-forward and functional to me.


The (need of a) comparison
Since, there isn't any way to consider something as good, average or bad, unless there is something to compare it with, I visited the website of the borough I currently live in, www.Southwark.gov.uk. The homepage looked OK but in the subpages the font was really small and the submenu was terribly hard to use, even read. Anyway, apart from the UI comparing the contents of both websites, I appreciated this awesome sense of functionality in Greenwich's website. Being more specific:

1. Firstly, links like "Search" (hm, there is already a search box right up there), "Text only" (which navigates to a 'sorry for unavailability' page), "Life events" (navigates to this unimaginably useless page) are absent in the Greenwich's homepage since they were wisely considered as not That important.

2. As for the content, the same fact remains, with pages as "How strategic desicions are made", "Your council", "Key documents" and many more of the Southwark's website not existing in the Greenwich's website because thoughtfully the creators of the latter realized that even though it might be cool for such a page to exist, no-one is going to look for it, and it would rather create frustration than coolness.


The Grade

for Greenwich's website compared to Southwark's. This sense of discipline to effectively provide services via the website, and to fulfil the visitors' needs is awesome; it's the point, what truly matters.


Update
Re-viewing my review, I should definitely do this comparison thing in a much better depth. I am currently working on this topic, and what I see is that some other councils of London have really interesting websites! A  detailed post to come then. [..] The post did came, and here it is.

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Digital Greenwich - A new project and the HS-IT combo

Before anything else, I feel the need to say that: Blogger has THE  WORST editor.  Now, here is the post I finished about 45' earlier:

New project

For the second learning cycle, we had the chance to choose between 4 projects, the one we want to work on for the next 5 weeks. The project I chose was 'Digital Greenwich', which brief was:

Produce a proposal that articulates Greenwich Council's commitment to using digital technology and the digitisation of its services to positively enhance the experience of this London Borough for its different communities.

The reason of my choice is that this is a real-world project, as Greenwich's council is already working. Also, the council will supervise our project; provide critique and if everything works well, use the whole or parts of it. So, what would be better of a not realistic but real project, which benefits the society?

What's up with Greenwich?
On Wednesday we had a meeting with Mr. Shaun, the Human Resources and Information Technology director of Greenwich council. Weird combination which works though, according to him. The meeting lasted about an hour in which Mr. Shaun firstly gave us an idea of what is going on in Greenwich (location, places of interest etc) and then stated us the problems it faces, the ones the digitalization of the Borough should fight against or at least overcome. He also gave us loads of information of the level the Greenwich's citizens are engaged with technology, something really important as it will help us to define which is the best medium or media we will use in our project. Mr. Shaun is also going to provide us several statistics for this purpose.


Woolwich (a key area according to Mr. Shaun) foot tunnel

Project leader's suggestions
After the meeting with Mr. Shaun, we had a talk with the project leader, Mr. Martin who suggested:
1. The services should be for everybody; we should not exlude any group of Greenwich's citizens.
2. In the development process of our proposal, we should think long-term.
3. We could start by addressing the citizens' needs.
4. We should define what's the level of information and services provided for the citizens now.

Action!
The first step we took is #4 from Mr. Martin's suggestions, as each one of us selected a medium (mobile, web, cable-tv, etc.) to investigate how it is currently used for the citizens (what is provided, quality). I chose the tech "love of my life", web. Apart from that we will follow #3 as we will start meeting people from Greenwich trying to define their needs, so later we will be able to shape the services we will propose according to them. After all, happy citizens equals happy borough equals success, isn't it.

The quote
The government would fund a project with legs: Measurable outcomes in reasonable time. (Mr. Shaun)

To-do
Now, I have to do a research on the use of web by the Greenwich council and after that a kind of "live action" will take place, for #3 mentioned above.. well, since Mr. Shaun referred to gangs I'm not really into it, but if it's for the society . .