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11/08/2014 14:51:48 | with 2 comments
Hello! Before we get started, I have a few welcomes to go through: welcome to the new design of our website, welcome to the first post of the new NGA blog, and last but certainly not least, welcome to you! My name is Laura, and as the Communications and Marketing Officer, I am the one who sends you lots of emails like the newsletter and looks after the website, among other things. I’m going to kick off our blog with some of the changes we’ve made to the site. If you have any comments, I’d love to hear from you – my email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
The first thing to let you know is that this is not a brand new website, just a new design and layout. So I want to reassure all our members that your log in details have not been affected, and you use your email address and password to log in just the same as before. If you do have any problems logging in, you can try the forgotten password link, or just drop the membership team an email and we’ll be happy to have a look.
So, back to the main changes. Last year, Ellie and I reviewed the website and came up with a few improvements we wanted to make, and the more we thought about it, the bigger the ideas became. So we contacted the developers, and did some brainstorming. One of the key things we noticed was that more and more of you are browsing the website on tablets or mobiles, so one of the key criteria was that the new design needed to adapt to the size of the screen you’re using. If you’re reading this on a PC or a tablet, try making the window bigger and smaller and you can see how it moves so that it is still easy to read.
What we wanted to do was make the site easier for you to use (no matter what device you’re on) and find the information you’re looking for quickly. With this in mind, we scrapped all the headings, wrote out every article we’ve ever created on a post-it note, and began to build up the structure from there. (I never realised quite how much stuff there is on our site until I wrote it all out – there were 19 pages like this!) Hopefully, the structure we’ve come up with makes sense, but if there’s anything you can’t find, or anything you think doesn’t fit, please let us know.
We want to make it as easy as possible for you to find what you’re looking for, so rather than have a separate members’ and non-members’ area, we’ve put all our guidance and resources in one place so you don’t have to remember whether it’s public or not. We created a new ‘Guidance Centre’ that contains everything we’ve produced that will help you in your role, whether you’re a clerk wanting to check or understand some legislation, the chair of finance committee wanting to learn about sources of funding, the chair of governors trying to drive school improvement, or any other governor interested in curriculum, SEN, behaviour, Ofsted inspections, or staffing. Anything that is members’ only has a little membership symbol in the corner like this:
With the same aim, we’ve also introduced a new function on the search box that allows you to choose where you look for things. If you want to find that useful blog summarising the changes to the new site, you can search for something like website changes, click search, and then narrow it down to the blog section.
With no members’ area, we have moved the weekly newsletter into a whole section for news, together with the updates on Parliamentary Business, the NGA latest news, and the Department for Education newsfeed. The newsletter is still for members only, but we’ve allowed non-members to see the kinds of stories we cover. Governing Matters has also had to move! You can now download the latest magazine from the publications section. If you’re not a member and the newsletter or magazine look interesting, you can join us online.
What else have we changed? We’ve got a new section for all the services on offer to you. Here you will find information about our legal advice and information service (GOLDline); our consultancy and training team offering bespoke sessions, external reviews, and away days; the Leading Governance Partnership and the National College for Teaching and Leadership development courses; hiring our rooms; and the special school advisory group.
Finally, our events section now contains a fancy new calendar, where we will list not only NGA events, but also other events that we’re attending. You can filter these by region so you can find events close to you, and we’ll direct you where to make bookings. This is also where we’ve uploaded the presentations from events we’ve held or been at so you can come back and have a look or forward them to other governors if they’re useful. Also on that note, there is also a little envelope on the right hand side to help you share it more easily!
So, welcome to the new high tech NGA! If you have any feedback on any of the changes, good or bad, please get in touch; I’d love to hear from you!