Virtual Customer Forum

We are inviting our customers to come together to discuss all things Directory! In this session, we will present our platform development roadmap for 2023, including the results of our research to enhance the platform’s search function.

We are also keen to showcase some of the great new websites that we’ve been collaborating with our customers on. 

The session will be held virtually through Microsoft Teams, on Thursday November 24th at 10am.

Registration is now open on our website through the following link:

https://www.idoxgroup.com/event/idox-directory-platform-customer-forum/

Following registration, we will send an invite with joining instructions.

If there is any specific topic or area that you would like to see included on the agenda, please do not hesitate to contact chris.evans@idoxgroup.com

We hope that you can join us.

Headings Are Important

Search engines use the headings within each page to index the structure and content of your web pages.

Users often skim a page by its headings, and screen reader software usually generates a navigable list for each page, using its headings. It is therefore very important to use meaningful headings to show the page structure.

Some sites will have hidden section headings. If a design excludes meaningful headings, we will routinely add in “hidden” headings as we build each new site. These hidden headings are then used by screen reader software, to generate its list for the blind user.

An <h1> heading is only used for each page’s main heading. Every major section of a page should be labelled by <h2> headings, then the less important <h3>, and so on as necessary, potentially all the way down to <h6>.

Headings are invariably relatively sized – to generate visual cues for their relative hierarchy. They are not a styling tool!

If you want some prominent text in the middle of your editable content, using a heading to achieve this will BREAK ACCESSIBILITY on that page. You can toggle your WYSIWYG field editor into ‘HTML’ mode and then add style attributes, like style="font-size: 2em" and that will not affect the accessibility in any way: styling adds no semantic meaning to the mark-up and is only for sighted users anyway.

Planned enhancements to Media Manager

We are currently planning enhancements to the Directory Platform’s Media Manager as part of next year’s roadmap, and we’ll be sharing the details of this with customers soon.

In the meantime, we have created a quick user guide of how the Media Manager app currently works as a reference for customers. Over the coming months, we will also be creating other new quick guides to support customers to get the most from the Directory platform.

To access the document please log on to our Hornbill Support Portal > My Services > DirectoryHubs > Documents Tab

Directory Change Requests

As part of a series of improvements that we are making to better support our Directory customers, we are introducing a new dedicated resource to facilitate Directory website change requests. We hope that, over the coming months, that you will see a significant improvement in the timeliness of our responses to these.

As we introduce this new resource, we are currently undertaking a full review of existing change requests and are asking some customers to confirm that some of their change requests are still valid/ required. This may be due to the age of the ticket or because you are currently engaged with us in a website refresh project.

This is important as we would not wish to implement change requests that have since been superseded by more recent changes that may have been made to your website or a current refresh project. We will be asking you to confirm if the change request is still required on our Hornbill support portal, so please look out for the messages over the coming week.

Our latest Directory refresh goes live!

This week, Islington Council went live with their brand-new multi-channel directory website.

Built on our latest wireframe, the website’s unique design is a great example of how their strong brand, fyi, brings together multiple channels of information, advice, and guidance for a clear and cohesive user journey.

Check it out here:

https://findyour.islington.gov.uk

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Homes for Ukraine – Message from DfE

The Department for Education understands that you may be receiving queries from childminders in England that are keen to join the many others who have signed-up to host people from Ukraine under the Homes for Ukraine scheme and Ukraine Family Scheme. Please find a link below which provides guidance for childminders who may have signed up to support the Ukraine schemes:

https://foundationyears.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/Childminders-hosting-people-from-Ukraine-England.pdf

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Our Ideas Hub is getting a new home

Raising new ideas and viewing, commenting on and voting for ideas contributed by other local authorities will remain at the heart of how you can engage with us. We are building on this by making it a dedicated space for our Directory community and improving progress updates on the ideas that we are actively considering and working on.

To do this means moving the existing ideas to a brand new Directory Ideas Portal.

What is moving?

The space for raising ideas for changes to the Directory Platform. Included will be all existing ideas that are not completed or otherwise closed. In addition, all existing users will be moved and shall retain links to their ideas.

What is not moving?

Any ideas that have been completed or otherwise closed.

Unfortunately, we will be unable to move existing comments previously made against ideas. However, we will retain all those comments internally for reference in our consideration and planning.

When are Ideas moving?

The move will happen on Monday, 4th April and all existing users will soon receive an email invitation to complete registration on the new portal.

Should you have any questions, please let me know.

Directory platform maintenance

Dear valued customer

To conclude our current Directory platform maintenance programme, a final hardware upgrade is required to ensure the ongoing performance and resilience of our hosting environments.

We have scheduled this upgrade to take place on Thursday, April 28th 2022, starting at 12pm.

During the upgrades, there may be disruption to your services. This may result in your directory website(s) being unavailable as well as back-office directory administration access.

The upgrade will start at 12pm and we expect work complete by approximately 16:30pm. As soon as the work is complete, and Services are back, we will communicate this to you.

We appreciate that this may cause inconvenience to you and your users, and we will try and complete the work as quickly as possible We thank you for your understanding.

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Programmatic SPAM

We have received reports from some of our customers that their Directory websites have been the targets of programmatic SPAM.

As per our development roadmap, we are actively developing a new Google reCAPTCHA solution to actively prevent this from happening. Please be assured that our Development Team continue to look at this as their top priority, and we hope to have a resolution soon.

In the meantime, if we can assist any way, for example, by temporarily disabling feedback forms on your website, please log a call with our Service Desk and we will look to action these as soon as possible.

Thanks for your patience whilst we work to get this resolved.

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Merry Christmas from the Directory team

Despite the challenges of remote working and online meetings, 2021 has been a big success for Idox’ Directory Platform.

We’ve had some very productive planning meetings with many of you to re-evaluate, holistically, the changing requirements of your individual websites. We look forward to engaging with even more of you in 2022.

We have already deployed newly designed and fully accessibility compliant Directory websites for Sefton, Thurrock, Middlesbrough and Central Bedfordshire and are currently working on many more.

We also deployed the rebranded and more usable Datastore admin interface.

We hosted several very well attended user forums, which allowed many of you to exchange contact details and ideas.
Based on your feedback we are now focussed on delivering improvements to help you maintain your quality information, and we then have plans to improve the way users find and share information.
Please contact your Account Manager for a copy of our product roadmap.

In January 2022, Idox will be engaging with customers to explore what could be developed as an additional module on our platform to provide better triage or signposting to relevant or personalised information. This engagement will initially be specifically focussed on Special Educational Needs and Disabilities and our Local Offer websites.

And finally… we welcome a new account manager:
Conrad Maskell joins our team today as a new Account Manager for the Directory Platform and EHC. Conrad will be in touch with customers soon to introduce himself. In the meantime, Conrad can be contacted on conrad.maskell@idoxgroup.com

Wishing you all a happy, healthy and prosperous 2022!