Thanks to everyone who participated – in reality and online – in the User
Group on Monday. We’re writing observations from the
session on ‘Rebooting democracy’ – and you may want to have a
look at the debate here. My immediate reflection was on how much we all
really appreciated the fact that we have a formal process and also that we
have people willing to stand to be elected – but that at the same time we
have to find ways to make the democratic process more accessible and
relevant to the public.
We spent the morning looking at classic user group product issues and
talking about the plans for the next 12 months. We heard very strongly from
the group that a tablet/mobile version of the Public-i Player
is needed urgently. Which makes it quite a relief that we have the first
stages of this in test right now and we have the final part on track for May
testing and a June launch – we will keep you posted on this.
Both of these releases are focused on design and platform issues and we are
putting a lot of work into the products to shift to a responsive design
approach, which means that we can provide a good experience across all
platforms. This has taken us a bit longer than just doing an iPad version
would have – but we think that it’s a better outcome. We will be writing a more
technical blog post to explain the ins and outs of it in more
The fact that we are making more of an investment in design does mean that
we are going to need to revisit some of the detailed customisation of the
front end that we have done for clients in the past and we are going to be
talking to those clients who have had lots of work done to agree a
reasonable path with this. The consensus from the user group was that it
was reasonable to charge clients who wanted extensive customisation work
rather than build this kind of – expensive – flexibility into the core
product. We will be in touch with the people this affects most to discuss
plans, so this is really an advance warning to start people thinking.
One other exciting (at least for us) announcement was the fact that we are
launching a new Connect product – called Connect Social – which includes
more sophisticated interaction and user management tools than the standard
Connect platform. We think that this enables our core Connect user base to
continue creating excellent meeting content at the same time as offering a
new product which is more flexible in terms of interactivity and social
sharing. We’ll be telling you lots more about this as we move towards a
formal product launch in May.
Our next user group will be in September/October time and we will be in
touch soon with dates – in the meantime enjoy spring!