Live|work take the opportunity to celebrate four web services that have gone live.
Live|work’s December newsletter features four of our projects that have been launched to the world this year. Services going live and, more importantly, succeeding always makes us happy. We are taking this opportunity to celebrate this year’s launch of:
A new careers services in Scotland delivered online at My World of Work developed by Skills Development Scotland.
A new approach for Neighbourhood Watch to be more inclusive and join the Internet age delivered as Our Watch.
A new website for Faber & Faber’s Academy that will make the running of a growing number of creative writing classes more accessible and more enjoyable.
A complete overhaul of the online experience for users of P2P car share company Whipcar.
So there is a bit of a theme here – new services delivered online – this has made us have a think about what it is with the web that makes it a key channel for service innovations and improvements? All these services have also had changes in the way the service works offline in some fairly fundamental ways. Fundamental but much harder to point at.
There are some simple reasons for this that are worth bearing in mind.
Often the website is the most tangible element of a service and therefore a good vehicle for a major change as it gives you an object and a launch date to coordinate around.
Our Watch is a good example of this as it provided Neighbourhood Watch with a totally new facet of what they do. This enabled them to make some noise but more importantly to attract a new user base to NHW through a tangibly different experience.
When a service changes it is often because the service provider needs to change human behaviours – to move forward. These may be customer behaviours or staff habits. As the website is literally ‘hard coded’ it has the ability to set and guide behaviours. This can sound dictatorial but if thought of in design terms it is more about ‘nudging’ people in the right direction. Services can change user behaviours in a positive way by building in ‘affordances’ (easy paths) that guide new and beneficial habits.
This is the goal with Whipcar – we are constantly looking for ways to improve the performance of the service. To do so need both owners and drivers using it to do things a little differently – like respond to a booking request promptly – in ways that improves the service for all parties.
Platform is a fashionable term online these days but it has some value. For a service that also operates offline the web can be a universally accessible element of the service – whereas offline elements have natural limits to access due to location or limited resources. As the online freemium model online demonstrates, the web provides an opportunity to serve everyone to some extent.
This is the strategy of My World of Work – being a public service SDS need ways to be universal and to need their more costly face-to-face services to focus on the higher value or higher impact aspects of what they do. My World of Work is the universal platform, a kind of base to the pyramid for the rest of the business to build on.
So to conclude and to look forward to 2012 – we assume that the web will still be a great vehicle for service innovation and change for the foreseeable future (along with newer digital channels). However, we will continue to see digital as just that – a channel in a more complex whole service experience.