FOUR STEPS TO CONTINUOUS WEBSITE IMPROVEMENT

Submitted on May 18, 2021 by:
Rachel Crowley

Web developers try to take into account the user’s experience and goals when designing a website. However, as time passes, even the best-designed website requires adaptation to meet its users' changing goals and needs.

As part of an open educational resources (OER) initiative, the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) launched the #GoOpenVA website. The website allows Virginia teachers to create and share resources designed for Virginia educators and provide guidance on the types of resources users should share. Recognizing there is still room for improvement towards achieving its vision for a spectacularly successful website, VDOE ventured to develop a plan to improve. Supported by the Region 5 Comprehensive Center, VDOE developed and has begun implementing a continuous improvement plan for its #GoOpenVA site.

The Website Continuous Improvement Plan identifies four simple steps of continuous improvement:

  1. Identify goals for the website: Establishing what a successful website looks like and identifying indicators of that success. 
  1. Identify sources of feedback: Developing one or two questions related to the indicators of success and selecting an appropriate method for collecting feedback (i.e., web analytics, quick surveys, peer conversations, and usability tests).
  1. Regularly obtaining feedback: Recognizing that gathering feedback and data collection can be overwhelming, and the agency doesn't need to collect data in large segments, it’s okay to do a little at a time as long as data and analytics are measured regularly.
  1. Using the feedback in meaningful ways: Prioritizing recommendations for improvement and scheduling time to regularly tweak and update the site to ensure feedback is not collected and left unused.

As a result of this plan, VDOE will identify continuous, incremental changes for the website based upon site analytics, performance metrics, and direct feedback from teachers.

For more information and assistance with developing a continuous improvement plan for your state or district-level website or initiative, contact the Region 5 Comprehensive Center.