Final website recommendations

By: James Robertson Posted: September 12, 2002
Now that the intranet report for the Area Health Service has been reviewed and signed-off, I've had a chance to finish the report on the review of the website. This includes the following recommendations: Strategic recommendations Focus on depth, not breadth Comprehensively restructure the website Provide complete facility information Empower the website administrators Use the website to reduce call volumes Implement a new content management system Tactical recommendations Maximise the value of the homepage Eliminate duplication Eliminate

Final intranet recommendations

By: James Robertson Posted: August 26, 2002
All I've left to do on the Area Health Service project is to write the executive summary. The major recommendations have now been written, and reviewed. In bullet-form, this is what we identified: Strategic recommendations Integrate the intranet into daily work practices Improve intranet resourcing Develop a staff directory Develop a knowledge-sharing culture Broaden the reach of e-mail Improve the management of e-mail Provide universal web access Align with the Balanced Scorecard Use storytelling to support organisational change Use the intranet to support geographically isolated staff Formalise the role of content authors Improve transparency of decision making Enhance the dissemination

Usability testing completed

By: James Robertson Posted: August 14, 2002
Apologies for the lack of posts over the last few days. I've been incredibly busy running usability tests (3 days of 5 per day) at the Area Health Service, while sick with the flu. Looking forward to the weekend. The usability testing went well, I think. We had a huge range of users, everyone from managers, community representatives to the apprentice gardener. Overall, it didn't reveal any startlingly new information. It did, however, confirm the views developed during the usability evaluation of the intranet and website. For example: Most people ignored the options in the header and sidebar. They considered

Card sorting completed

By: James Robertson Posted: August 10, 2002
The card sorting session yesterday with the Area Health Service went well, and generated some good results. The high-level structure of the intranet has already been identified as one of the two biggest barriers to usage (the other being the search engine), so all eyes were on the results of the session. Of course, this will hopefully be the first of several card sorting sessions, with additional sessions including other primary user groups: clinical staff, admin, etc. The main menu items they came up with were: About us Management systems Projects & reports News & events Procedures, policies, guidelines &

Second day of stakeholder interviews

By: James Robertson Posted: August 7, 2002
Near the end now of another long day of interviews at the Area Health Service. I've now talked with everyone from the senior executive, through admin and lower management, to clinical staff (doctors, nurses, and allied health). What is interesting is that, despite the hugely different roles, responisibilities and working environments, some key themes are turning up again and again. These include: Everyone wants to know what is generally happening within the organisation, such as building works, restructures, and the like. Even if they are located in rural areas. No-one seems to want to receive news about social events, preferring

First day of stakeholder interviews

By: James Robertson Posted: August 6, 2002
Well, I'm very tired now, having completed 5 hours of stakeholder interviews, with 30 minute gaps in between. Overall, the questions held up pretty well. I haven't been successful in determining social networks, but the information gathering behaviours have been clearly identified. As hoped, we have also identified a lot of other issues that are prventing wider usage of the intranet (primarily around availability of PCs, culture and available time). One idea that occured to me after the first interview was to start documenting soundbites. These are brief verbatim comments from users about specific issues. I now have over a

Stakeholder interviews

By: James Robertson Posted: August 5, 2002
I'm back working with the Area Health Service tomorrow. The next three days will consist entirely of stakeholder interviews, finished up with a day of information architecture activities (card sorting). We've taken a different tack with the interviews than previous approaches. In the past, focus groups were convened to discuss how the intranet is used, and what changes could be made. This time, instead of focusing on the intranet, we'll be investigating what information is needed by staff. To this end, we'll be asking a range of questions: nature of the staff person's job key activities information needs current information

Refocusing an intranet

By: James Robertson Posted: July 27, 2002
I've just finished another two days of work with the Area Health Service, and I'm back in Sydney. The review of existing documentation and reports is now complete, as is the expert review of the current intranet. Overall, the current intranet scored high marks. It is consistent, fairly well structured, and the majority of the content is well-written and to-the-point. There is a lot of good information on this intranet. And yet, looking at the web usage statistics, it is clear that the intranet is not being used by most staff. The question is: why? Unlike most intranets, it's not

History of a health intranet

By: James Robertson Posted: July 23, 2002
Just got back from the initial meeting with the Area Health Service. I spent most of the day finding out more about the history of their intranet, the challenges of their culture, and their future plans. Overall, I was very impressed with how far they had managed to get, considering that they have had essentially no budget, and the intranet is just one year old (next week). The intranet was initially created by a single person within Public Affairs, and there are now just two staff dedicated to managing the entire system. They have implemented a simple distributed approach, with

Phone directory first; CMS second

By: James Robertson Posted: July 20, 2002
When in Canberra this week, we talked about CMS implementation issues. The same problem arose that has existed for all my other clients, with the potential to make the CMS very difficult to implement. Here's the issue: Before starting to develop a CMS solution, you need to deploy a fully-functional staff phone directory ("whitepages"). This should have the following features: Provides standard contact information: name, phone number, e-mail address, etc. Records which department and team each staff person belongs to. Identifies each staff person's job role. Records the relationships between staff (such as "reports to", or "managed by", etc) Accurate