Changing The Service Provided Based On User Context


The top tier of our application vision requires us to deliver focussed applications and information to all of our users (internal or external) based on their role and context in relation to WCC.

Show how the manner in which a web service based application is presented can be altered by an understanding of the user’s context – in terms of at least one of the following factors:
• Their specific interests
• Their identity
• The level to which we trust their identity
• Their technical or geographical context


Details of where code, web pages etc can be found.

Local Authority Websites:
Nottingham City Council:
Hampshire County Council:
Lincolnshire County Council:
Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council:
Redbridge Council:
Knowsley Council:
Surrey Heath Borough Council:
Cornwall Council:
East Renfrewshire Council:
Rochford District Council:


Describe how you approached this piece of work, any technologies, tools or techniques that you found useful or tried and discarded. Include any examples that you used for inspiration and any contacts you have made in carrying out the work.

(Screenshots are available on the Word document for the sites listed below.) Initial work began with the links provided in the project brief but I soon moved away from that to see what local authorities were providing “in the wild”. There is a wide variation of customisable/personalised web services offered by local authorities. SOCITM has focused on user context along with self-service in several publications and have cited several of the sites listed above as best of the best.

BBC’s website allows customisation by postcode but also the majority of its site headings allow further tailoring of the widgets to interests.

iGoogle not only allows the ability to add in new Google made widgets but you can also add in user develop widgets that make better matches to the user than the Google original add-ons.

My Nottingham is a good example of extending the idea of customised website to its citizens. It also has a facility to add in your own feeds to the homepage as well.

Lincolnshire has a different idea of a customised page where directs people to select their context for specific information along with indicating their postcode to get localised services.


Describe the degree to which the work was successful in addressing the project description. Include reasons why or why not.

The work gave insight into the different approaches to customisation that are possible. Looking at the local authorities that have implemented customised and/or personalised websites gives us useful templates to look at and a starting point for networking. Seeing the library of work available through SOCITM also lends credence to the value of this work and is a resource worth subscribing to (


What immediate impact could the output of this R&D work have on the organisation – could it provide benefits without compromising our strategic approach?

A focus on identifying and delivering services and especially self-service applications through our intranet and WCC website would help inform the next stages of contextual access. There’s no use in providing a slick customised or personalised application if there’s no useful service behind it.


How the work carried out fits with our strategic direction or how it should contribute to our strategic thinking.

Implementing contextual access for internal users seems to be a relatively simple idea to achieve. Utilising roles and security to expose or conceal information within the organisation in an integrated manner – single sign on approach (potentially using Active Directory as the base product) – would make delivering internal services easier and the flow of information clearer. Delivering the same to external customers is a bit trickier. Which potential strategy do you follow forward?:
• Reliance on web mining data (IP address for location, tags for browser delivery, etc.);
• a low level registration model where the minimum amount of information is gathered to target information and/or services (postcode);
• a no registration model where the website is set up into distinctive areas and the user self selects their context; or
• a higher security model where each user is independently verified and access to information is based entirely on internally held departmental information.
The first step may be to look at the types of services we are looking to offer and let the identify management strategy flow from that.


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