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New Council Website

The Council's new website has been designed with the user in mind. We've kept the best of the old site and improved on it - the news articles are still there and are now accompanied by a photo or graphic, the content has been improved and rewritten, and the navigation has been completely restructured.

Read on to find out what improvements have been made and the reasons why the changes have been put in place...

Audience Tabs

The website is split into 4 sections to broadly reflect the different audiences for the website;

  • Residents - those that live in the borough
  • Business - those who own a business in the borough
  • Council - those with an interest in the workings of the council
  • Visitors - those who are visiting the borough

Each section has its own homepage (the four tabs you see at the very top of the page) and each section has its own colour. The colours are used throughout the site to help the user navigate and find their way around. This can be important if the user arrives at a page in the site from a search engine like google.

The user can always see which part of the site they are in by checking the tabs for the icon of a house (currently in the 'Residents' tab). They won't see information which they aren't interested in - for example they won't see a page for 'Business Rates' in with the 'Council Tax' pages.

Four homepages also helps to increase the amount of space available to promote council services, using the content panels (see 'Features').

Top Tasks

The site has been designed to make it as simple as possible for the user to complete their 'Top Tasks'. Website statistics show that the planning search pages and car parking pages are amongst the most popular - it won't take you long to find 2 or 3 ways to get directly to them from the homepage.

Navigation

On the old website, it was possible to go down through nine levels in the navigation menu to find a page. This caused problems with the navigation menus and difficulty for the user.

The majority of this site has 4 levels of navigation (including the top level of Residents, Business, Council and Visitors) and a very few pages that are at the fifth level.

Content

Where possible, content has been rewritten across the site to eliminate unnecessary information and improve readability. Language has been simplified to reduce 'council-speak' and jargon.

Click 'Next' or on the 'Features' tab above to read about some more new features on this site.

Homepage

From top to bottom...

Header

The four audience tabs, our sitename, logo, search (see below) and logo.

Main Navigation Menu

Reflecting popular website design, the main navigation menu now sits horizontally underneath the four audience tabs. Services are listed in order of popularity and further services can be accessed by clicking the 'More' link. Clicking on a menu item will take you to the 'Landing Page' for a service, but if you hover your mouse over a menu item, a sub-menu will display. You can click to take you directly to a page, without needing to go to the landing page.

Top Tasks Carousel

Designed to provide quick access to a the most popular top tasks, the carousel can be rotated using the up and down arrows, then click on the item to take you directly to the page you want.

News Items

A completely refreshed look and feel to the news items on the homepage, including a photo or graphic to help illustrate the item. The potential is there to have different news stories on each of the different audience tabs. Use the left and right buttons to scroll through the news items, or click on the 'More News' link to view all news stories.

Content Panels

We have introduced 'content panels' which open and close when you click on them. There are ten of them in total and they are primarily designed to allow users access to their 'Top Tasks'. Try clicking on a few to discover hidden functionality and information.

These panels can also be used to provide smaller council initiatives greater exposure to casual browsers on our homepage.

A-Z & Search

The site has a Search and an A-Z of council services to help the user find the information they want if they cannot find it through the navigation menus. The site search will look at the contents of downloadable files, not just the titles and the search results are grouped by type.

Landing Pages

The landing pages have a consistent look and feel to them, displaying simple icons and descriptions of the first six pages within the section. Links to further pages will be displayed beneath the six icons. The simple design should help users to quickly get to where they want to go in the site.

Content Pages

Most standard content pages display a navigation menu on the left and a menu on the right, which holds links to the 'Contact Us' age and downloads of pdf files and links to external websites. Some pages will have the menus on the left and / or right removed to make space for larger items like maps.

If your question is not answered here, use the 'Site Feedback' link in the right-hand menu to let us have your thoughts.

If there are four homepages, which one will appear?

The default homepage when a user goes to www.tunbridgewells.gov.uk is the residents homepage.

The site doesn't look good in my browser!

There are problems when viewing the site in the older Internet Explorer 7, particularly the homepages. Users of that version account for approx. 1% of our site traffic and the cost of making the site work would have been prohibitive compared to the benefits.

Why doesn't the site fit on my screen?

We have set the width of the site to 1024 pixels, so your screen resolution should be a minimum of 1024 (more than 80% of users do, the remaining 20% are using smaller screens on mobiles). If you have a scroll bar on the right-side of your browser then you will find that the site will not fit on your screen and a scroll bar will appear across the bottom. We recommend a screen resolution with a width of 1280 or higher for optimal viewing of the site.

Why doesn't the site display on my mobile?

We will be working on a mobile version of the site after we have launched the desktop version.

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A - Z of council services