November 14, 2016, 0 Comments

I worked for Liverpool City Council for 15 years, as a fundamental and integral part of their Digital Services team (for the period between 2002 and 2012 known as Liverpool Direct Limited Digital Services) overseeing 5 design iterations of their flagship website. Taking it from a frameset/table based design through implementing content management systems, introducing standards compliant, accessible, semantic code, performing a radical customer-focused re-interpretation to making it the multi-channel, mobile first, transactional site that it is today.

The version of the website I remain most personally proud of is the last that I fully designed myself (before progressing into management and delegating direct responsibility). Produced in 2011, the site was the product of a radical re-interpretation of the council website based around a “Top Tasks” customer-focused approach as championed by Digital Transformation sharp-shooter Gerry Mcgovern.

Our research with Gerry had shown that of the >4000 pages the website represented at that time, only about a tenth were regularly accessed by citizens. Cue some very difficult conversations with proud council content owners and lots of straight talking powerpoint presentations where we demonstrated exactly what citizens want and how much we could drive down council costs by moving transactions online.

tl:dr => we got our way and reduced the site to 400 pages. In the process we increased citizen engagement massively and reduced customer contact to the council call centre by 18% within 6 months. (cost of digital transaction = 15p, cost of call-centre transaction = £2.83 – source: SOCITM)

The website was released to great acclaim and had many far-reaching impacts. The influential SOCITM Insight report into top-performing council websites was re-structured for 2012 with Top Tasks as a headline feature. The site design itself was copied extensively with design features of mine such as the Local Government icon set, top-level site information architecture and even the whole design itself being aped by many councils.

Such was the quality and enduring impact of the work that even 7 years later some councils are still making use of the exact same design: see and – we made a website about the site’s impact at

Category: case study