Mitja Brus By / April 19, 2013

How to present timely information on your website?

It is not rocket science that there are two kinds of people – those who like to search for information…

© ronstik

It is not rocket science that there are two kinds of people – those who like to search for information and those who like to browse (you know, click around to get to the info they want). By definition libraries are good at developing user friendly search engines and meticulous indexing… and we think our website is not an exception.

However, usability tests confirmed that we could do better in presenting timely information. After all, selecting information of value to Members is our core activity. We are closely monitoring EU relevant affairs to provide you with the right information at the right time. And we already do this.

Search engine
Search engine


Can we do better?

Policy area page
Policy area page

As it is now, the information on our internal website is presented in chronological order divided by policy areas (or EP committees) – much like blogs. What we want to achieve with our new website is that you would see current topics in European Parliament activities. For example, if it were a plenary session week you would immediately see a list of all our plenary briefings for this week. Just pack and go to Strasbourg! Or, if you went to our policy area on Economic and monetary affairs, you would immediately see all you need to know about sovereign debt. Only one click away!

And how will we do this?

Website wireframe sketch on blackboard
© ronstik

It is an established practice on websites to have a large part of the homepage dedicated to carefully selected featured posts. Usually, this comes in a graphically advanced widget where several posts loop inside the box. This is exactly what we aim to provide.

On the homepage, we will show you posts that are of general EP interest. Perhaps a product that we prepared for you, a hot book or a report, a selection of sources on a topic, or an advertisement to an event that we organize.

On the policy area pages, topics for featuring will be much more precise. We know what is on top of the Committees’ agenda. So, there is a high chance that you came to our website to research these topics. To accompany these featured posts you will still be able to see the latest books or reports that we indexed for you, logically, in the respective policy area.

But why are these featured posts useful?

Besides the obvious one-click-access, we will enrich your website experience with several browsing possibilities. Let’s imagine that our briefing on a euro crisis is featured. This post would then link to “all products by the same author”, a “list of all briefings”, a “list of all documents in ECON policy area”, a “list of all documents about financial crisis”, and a “list of all documents about euro”.

This would of course add to our colleagues’ workload a bit, as they would need to duly monitor the developments in their areas and manually select these featured posts for you even on a daily basis. But there again, only the best is good enough for our Members, isn’t it?

And you? Are you a ‘searcher’ or a ‘browser’ type? Do you see the value of our approach? Let us know…

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