https://pds.blog.parliament.uk/2017/02/14/using-gifs-to-share-our-stories/

Using gifs to share our stories

The other day I said that our new year's resolution was to talk to you in words about our numbers. In fact, we want to do more than that. We're playing with different ways of sharing, and monitoring what works (and what doesn't).

In this post, we've looked back at 2016 just so we had some solid annual numbers to play with. Sharan, a recent recruit to the content team, brings with her experience in graphic design and animation. So, we're working on ways to use her skills to share our stories.

Let us know what you think.

The best of the blogs in 2016

Gif showing the most popular blog post by unique page views (2,901)

The most popular post in 2016 (from across all the Parliament blogs) invited people to the PDS recruitment open day.

Now, the numbers might not be enormous, but it's a solid starting point. And, it's interesting that the thing that was bringing in the views was about recruitment. We've found that blogging's a great tool in recruitment. Some candidates talk about our blogs in their interviews, and others tell us that our blogs have been a deciding factor in their decision to apply.

Good to know that our blogging efforts have not been in vain.

Welcome home

Gif showing number of unique visitors to parliament.uk homepage in 2016 (2,674,344)

Homepage visit numbers are a bit of a funny one. It's been a long time since the homepage ruled the web (we have Google search among other things to thank for that). Ok, so the days of typing in a URL and heading to a homepage as your starting point may be behind us. But, the parliament.uk homepage is still a popular place to be.

Because we have a selection of content, as well as a heap of links to other parts of the site, the homepage can still tell us some interesting things about our users.

I'd like to discover more about how and why people use our homepage. I definitely want to work with our user researchers to find out more.

The UK Parliament social club

Gif showing the views, impressions, and reach of the @UKParliament social channels in 2016

We're working hard to build on and improve our social media offering. We're also finding ways to improve the strategy and practices with our colleagues across Parliament.

It's great to see our social audiences engaging with us across various channels, and understanding how and why they engage with us helps with our content planning across everything we do.

Where in the world

Gif showing what parts of the world users of parliament.uk come from

Here in the content team, we find these sorts of stats really interesting. They act as a reminder that the content that Parliament produces isn't just for the 'Westminster bubble'. Moreover, the content's not just for the UK. In fact, it's not just for native English speakers.

Why is this important to us? Well, it highlights yet another reason we want to focus on a plain English approach. By using plain language and focusing on clarity, brevity, and avoiding jargon, we can make sure that everyone can understand what we're talking about. This helps us avoid assumptions about knowledge, and instead focus on readability and accessibility.

 Desktop is still king

Gif showing what devices people use to access parliament.uk

We can learn a lot about our site and how our users interact with it from this simple gif. Mobile and tablet use is on the increase in a big way, and yet the majority of our visits still come through a desktop. Why?

It could be because a lot of our users work from desktops. Maybe it's because a lot of our site isn't optimised for mobile, which means they'll get a better experience from a desktop. Perhaps a lot of our users don't look to us when they're on the move. Could they be going elsewhere for the information they need? Maybe the information they want isn't easy to find when they're on the move.

These are all theories and musings we need to explore. Certainly, the release of Hansard online (optimised for mobile) saw mobile visits leap from 11% to a whopping 84% - suggesting that users would use mobile if the experience works for them.

We want to hear from you

Everyone here is busy discovering all sorts of things about our users, and we'd love to hear from you. Whether it's numbers, words, pictures, anecdotes, frustrations, or praise; we want to talk. Drop me a line as a starting point, or comment below and we'll put you in touch with the best person to chat to.

*Featured image by Rob Buhlman, using Creative Commons License 2.0

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