COI ran a consultative review of guidance on measuring website costs, quality and usage. The Review started on 27 March 2009 and ran for a period of three weeks under the banner of ‘Improving Government Online’.
Due to the fact that the proposed end-users of the guidance were already well-disposed to the use of collaborative editing tools online and because of the successes of other ‘early adopter’ departments, the Digital Policy Review team was persuaded of the value in trying a new approach to reviewing that used a range of ‘social media’ applications to place the draft documents in the public domain for open review and comment.
I advised on the applications to use and their set up (reporting the process in an earlier post). I also a carried out an evaluation independently of the Review team, so as to capture not only their own specific experience but to also to encourage wider evaluation and critique of the use of ‘commentable’ or ‘interactive’ documents was by government reviews and consultations.
- The format of the Review attracted participation by a small, knowledgeable group of end-users;
- The new Review format generated a greater number of comments that provided a more precise set of amendments for the Review team to consider;
- The Review team was unfamiliar with the format but quickly found their rhythm and became more confident;
- The Review team will use the format for future reviews because it strengthened the quality of the guidance and made the process easier despite generating greater traffic than usual;
- Future use of this review format would be welcomed by participants and spectators who interacted with this exercise.
- The format allowed the Review team to indicate where they made specific amendments to the guidance as a result of reviewer input.