The relatively newly-established Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management recently won a prize as Improver of the year during the Web Service Awards.
“We’d never have managed that without performing impact mapping,” explains Karl-Johan Nylén, Communications Officer at the agency.
The Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management has been in existence since 2011. The following year, 2012, a survey was conducted to find out what users thought of their website. The second survey was conducted in 2015, and at the Web Service Awards they saw the positive results in black and white. The agency won the Improver of the year award in the Social Communication category. Their website had received higher ratings from users in all areas measured.
But let’s rewind a little. Behind this success are several years of hard work, from which they can now reap the benefits. It was in 2012 that the authority itself felt that they needed support and help in reorganising the information they had on the site.
“We’d heard about Impact Mapping through Örebro Municipality and thought that it seemed like a good method. It resulted in our turning to inUse for help with this work, which started with a workshop with the management team, at which we had to pin down which target groups the website had,” recalls Karl-Johan Nylén.
Participants at the workshop produced a flood of suggestions, but after some pressure was exerted, as Karl-Johan puts it, they narrowed them all down to five prioritised target groups. Work also included interviewing them and identifying the behavioural patterns that existed. An impact map was then produced.
After this, the map was placed in a bigger context. The agency used it as a guide to produce an inventory of all the pages on the whole site, reformulated them as required and sometimes even deleted some pages.
“This work has yielded many benefits. We simply saw what worked according to the impact goals – and what definitely didn’t work. We now own the website in a totally different way. In the past it had grown organically according to people’s interests and how much time they had to write. Now we have control and there’s a clear plan describing how we work on the site. That’s probably the greatest benefit from the whole impact mapping process.”
Measuring right – measuring wrong
Another important factor for the Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management is the measurable goals that must always be included in an Impact Map.
“It’s easy to become blinkered when you work on your website every day, but measuring lets you see in black and white whether you’re on the right track. We also want to be able to show the rest of the business when we’ve got it right – and the successes this has resulted in. But it’s every bit as important to know what we’ve done wrong, and how we can learn from it and improve,” believes Karl-Johan Nylén.
The prize that the agency won was presented by Web Service Award; they provide a questionnaire-based evaluation that is posted online and then evaluated by the company behind the award. The Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management has been involved for two years.
“We’d essentially improved in all areas this year, and by a good degree: more than 20 points on a scale of 100. It really is the best rating you can get, we’d never have managed that without the impact mapping exercise.”
Maintain the castle continuously
Karl-Johan also believes that the gain is underpinned by the collective work of the web group. They have undertaken a major restructuring and design of the website, as well as working hard behind the scenes on the website publication processes. They also keep to the structure, the tone and the standards they have set. They now work with impact management in everyday life.
“When you buy a beautiful castle you must look after it, otherwise it quickly turns into a ruin. You must paint the windows, repair the cracks in order to maintain the beautiful castle you once bought. I think it’s just the same with the website. The work never stops, and the real work takes place after the launch.”