As part of an occasional series on this blog, I want to introduce you to a few of the digital heroes and heroines doing great work inside the UK public sector.

It’s not often my jaw literally drops open while reading a blog post, but it did when I read through Luke Oatham’s piece on his Intranet Diary blog about his work to redevelop his organisation’s intranet. I’ve met Luke briefly at TeaCamp and he’s an unassuming guy, but his blog showcases some of the tremendous stuff he’s been doing to revamp not just the look-and-feel but the fundamental structure and relevance of his organisation’s intranet. Now, a lot of people might run an internal focus group or two, or perhaps stick a feedback form up somewhere on the intranet to gather views – and ultimately make the decision based on the HIghest Paid Person’s Opinion. Not Luke:

For the initial test page which all participants landed on, I used Google Website Optimiser, setting up an A/B test which redirected participants to one of 12 different pages. Each of the 12 pages started an individual test containing 20 questions. The purpose of Website Optimiser is usually to find the best combination of elements or wording on a page to drive a particular outcome. In this instance, I just took advantage of Website Optimiser’s method of evenly distributing tests.

From the tools he’s used – Google Website Optimiser, Google Analytics, online card sorting etc – to the understanding of human nature that lies behind it (make participating in tests something perceived to be scarce and fun) – he’s applying innovation, dedication and some serious skillz to one of the digital world’s less sexy challenges. And frankly, if I were Google, I’d make him offer he couldn’t refuse, because he’s applying exactly the same scientific method that’s made them into the hugely successful business they are.

Luke’s organisation has 80,000 staff. If half of them save 10 seconds a day as a result of Luke’s testing and improvements, that’s the equivalent of 20 full-time posts, or nearly half a million pounds of taxpayers’ money saved.

We need more Lukes.

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[…] been lucky enough to secure Luke Oatham as Helpful Technology’s Employee #1. Luke was the first digital hero profiled on this site, and runs a great blog about intranet design and UX issues, drawing from his […]