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Representatives from government organisations and vendors are working together to explore how we can use a common structured content model to create, share and consume standardised digital content.

The first of 3 workshops hosted by the Department of Internal affairs (DIA) was held at Archives on 10 October 2019.

The structured content model is part of wider work that DIA’s Government Information Services (GIS) team is doing to support the development of a common structured content model and a content reuse solution.

We believe this work will help to create a seamless user experience for people when dealing with government.

Purpose of the workshops

Websites are no longer the only digital channel demanded by our users, but so many of us working in government are still designing for static web pages. 

Also, our users can encounter content that is out-of-date on websites, leading to inconsistent and incorrect information. It takes a lot of resources to maintain and update content.

By using a structured content model, we can organise and treat government digital content like data. It’s a way of publishing content as discrete pieces of information that can be tagged with machine-readable descriptions. This means that government content could be shared, reused and eventually personalised.

The workshops are being held to help us develop a proof of concept’ which will demonstrate content sharing that delivers omni-channel (a multi-channel approach that provides an integrated user experience), including for voice activated research.

Our initial focus will be on content that describes government processes. This information tends to follow common patterns already and there is a clear opportunity to align the way we describe processes to enable reuse in the future. 

Christine Bennett standing in front of seated guests at the workshop.

Attendees were welcomed by Christine Bennett, General Manager, GIS — representing the Government Chief Digital Officer (GCDO).

What we did

We started by getting people into the mindset of how content can be broken down into chunks or components. We looked at the BBC News website and how they publish and re-use content. This exercise helped identify:

  • the different parts of a content page
  • how those pieces of content can be broken out and used in multiple places. 
View from back of room of participants seated at tables working on group exercise.

Workshop participants completing the BBC website labelling exercise with post-it notes.

We then applied that thinking to analyse information about New Zealand government services. In groups, the participants reviewed different types of services like getting a licence, getting a passport, complaining about a faulty fridge and enrolling to vote.

The groups identified the different content components for these services, and we started to see common patterns across the different processes.

Workshop whiteboard with post-it notes of suggestions. 

Results from the workshop. Some suggestions included, for example, cost, get help, how long does it take?

The final part of the workshop involved collating all the components each group had identified across the different services. There was a lot of consensus in the room about the intent behind common chunks of content across government processes, but there was some variance in how the chunks were named, and exactly how some pieces would be separated out.

Our next workshop — Language and definitions — on 30 October 2019 will tease out the definitions and the language used for the labelling of those components.

What happens next

We have planned 2 more workshops to delve more deeply into possible structures for process content. This co-design approach will help embed a common understanding of:

  • how we define the components
  • how they can be applied consistently across different types of processes.

Common language and understanding will be vital if we are to share information across agency silos in the future.

Workshop 2 — Language and definitions

Aligning our understanding of common terms and defining the different parts of the structured content model.

When

Wednesday 30 October 2019
1pm to 4.30pm

Where

Archives, 10 Mulgrave St, Wellington

Workshop 3 — Bringing it all together and next steps

Presenting the results from previous workshops, designing how to use the structured content model with real content and formulating next steps.

When

Tuesday 19 November 2019
1pm to 4.30pm

Where

Archives, 10 Mulgrave St, Wellington

Want to attend?

Limited places are still available for workshops 2 and 3.

If you would like to attend either of the workshops or want more information, contact info@digital.govt.nz

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