One year on The Couch evaluation

According to website 101 advice, regular evaluation of your website is imperative, so is making incremental changes. As June Cohen says in The Unusually Useful Web Book “you launch the site, study how it’s used, and make continual changes to improve it”. Yet as evaluation takes time and effort it’s not always completed in a timely way, or even done at all.

I’m really pleased to say we’ve completed a full process evaluation for The Couch just over a year after the website was launched. Mostly we wanted to find out whether the website was working and how it could be improved, but we also wanted a sense whether members were satisfied with their involvement.

As you can see from the report on the evaluation poll, lots of members made positive comments and suggestions for improvements. The second most common theme was members asking what difference does their input have? Members made it clear they want to know how policies for families are changing.

Based on this feedback we’re planning some changes to the way we communicate about how the results of polls are used. It’s not always easy to show a causal connection between the results and policy change, but we can tell members what we’ve done. This complements earlier decisions to be specific about the objectives for each poll before they go live.

Already underway are some subtle changes to the website to make it easier to use. And we’re planning to review the homepage and begin sending out a quarterly e-newsletter.

Of course, this wasn’t the start nor will the evaluation be the end of the changes. We’ll keep fine-tuning the website with design tweaks and wording changes as the need arises. Stray emails and comments from members and web denizens are vital to this. I’d be happy to receive any suggestions for The Couch you may have, send them to enquiries@thecouch.org.nz.

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