Parliament website triples navigation confusion

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Parliament website triples navigation confusion
Parliament House, Canberra

Senators insist on post-implementation review.

Senators have demanded a post-implementation review of Parliament's $3 million website upgrade after staff acknowledged it had received some 830 complaints and inquiries in the three months since launch.

The site's most regular users - politicians and their staff - website complained of an inability to find content on the new site, while some complained the live stream could not be accessed on their iPads.

“There is quite a bit of dissatisfaction [with the new website],” Senator Helen Polley told the Parliamentary Librarian, Dr Dianne Heriot,at a Senate estimates hearing this week.

“It is more cumbersome to move around the web site. It takes more mouse clicks to access information. Are you aware there are concerns from people that use the site on a daily basis?"

Herlot, whose predecessor managed the roll-out, said that while the website’s February launch was well received on Twitter and blogs, her office had received a significant increase in email inquiries seeking help in finding information buried on the website.

The inquiries centred on where to find committee reports and transcripts, how to contact members and senators, how to find ministry lists and how to upload parliamentary submissions, Heriot said.

Inquiries had “tapered off significantly” since launch - in February, Herlot's office received 353 while In April this was reduced to 169.

Herlot added the average number of information requests per month before the new site was deployed was “about 58”, indicating that users were getting used to its navigation.

She acknowledged a  post-implementation review of the costly site upgrade was likely, including an online survey of users.

The mixed reception received by the new website adds to the website's turbulent genesis.

In November last year, the Department of Parliamentary Services conceded that its site redesign was running a year late due to "substantial" changes in scope that required more development time.

The two-year revamp project was managed by ICT services firm Fujitsu and uses a content management system supplied by Sitecore.

In February, outgoing Parliamentary librarian Roxanne Missingham blamed cost over-runs of more than $614,000 on the project's complexity and heightened security concerns.

The original prime contractor for the project, Fujitsu, no longer supports the website.

Further maintenance for the website will be through a labour and materials contract with SiteCore.

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