Our website is a key resource for reps and members, and a source of information about the union for potential members and the wider public.
Logging into the site
First-time visitors to the site need to go through the first-time login process before they can access the full range of members' content. This is a once-only process which enables you to create a personal password plus a security Q&A. On future visits to the site, you then use the regular member login.
For some members - in the Connect (telecoms) sector and the ALAE branch - the arrangements are different. You can find more information on our help page.
Website redesign project has begun
In January 2011 we started working on major changes to the navigation and layout of the union's website, to make it more user-friendly.
The current site is over ten years old. During that time we've added lots of new content and features, and bolted them onto the existing navigation system. We're planning further additions late in 2011, including an online news system, so we need to take stock: review the site structure, and make it easier for people to find what they're looking for.
The National Executive Committee gave the go-ahead for a user-centred redesign project with a specialist company called Nomensa.
The project includes user testing, the creation of a new structure for the site, and a complete redesign.
Members and reps were asked to participate in the user testing, some of which was done online and some by telephone interview. Nomensa contacted random members and reps between 28 January and 3 February to arrange telephone interviews during the week commencing 7 February.
The online user testing ran from 8-14 February - we wanted as many participants as possible, so we advertised it on our home page.
Nomensa used the results of the user testing to come up with a suggested new navigation structure - a re-organisation of all our content into a smaller number of main navigation labels. The new structure was put to the test to check how quickly and easily users can find some of the content. This user testing ran from 15-22 March.
The results were very positive, with most users finding the required information very quickly, and only a few minor changes were needed to the structure.
Once the structure was agreed, work began on the design and layout. This started with a workshop involving representatives from the senior management team, national executive committee, information services and communications departments. We looked at 11 key pages on the site, what their purpose is, and what users would expect to achieve by visiting those pages.
Nomensa took all that information and produced a series of 'wireframes' - visual guides or blueprints of how the pages will be structured. The wireframes show all the elements such as navigation links and content, and specify the functionality of each element.
Once we'd reviewed the wireframes they were amended then signed off. Nomensa then produced a general design concept for the site, and once this had been approved, it was applied to the wireframes to give us a complete set of page designs. These have been passed to our programmers to be implemented across the site, with a target relaunch date of autumn 2011.