Our new beta website

 

Later this month, we will be releasing the beta version of the new Scouts website. This website is the culmination of a year’s work, designing a new website from the ground-up that aims to deliver on our Skills for Life plan launched in May 2018.

Our new website, unlike other digital developments we have released over the years, will be publicly available in its ‘beta’ phase. We have been testing a prototype with a group of volunteers, and now we’re sharing this working version of our website to get feedback, giving you the chance to shape our tools and improve their quality.

What this means in practice is that our new site will contain some – though not all – of the information currently on scouts.org.uk. It won’t have the full functionality we have planned for it, and some information may be unavailable at the start. Scouts.org.uk will still continue to function as our main site until we have created a website that we are satisfied fulfils all of its functions and more. For the time being, you’ll still be able to access member resources and read our news from the same pages you usually visit.

One of the key objectives for our new website is the rationalisation of existing sites into a single source of truth – that’s why, alongside adding information to the beta site, we are working on improving it, too. We’ve already transferred some information which will be accessible from day one, and we’ll continue to add more.

As well as providing a new face for our organisation with a mobile-first design, the beta website will provide visitors with access to our new programme planning tool.

The new tool has been developed in collaboration with a group of section leaders from our Community of Interest, and national volunteers such as Wendy Human (UK Commissioner for Programme Assurance), Graeme Hamilton (UK Commissioner for Programme Delivery) and Andrew Sutherland (our lead volunteer in developing this new digital programme planning tool). It is designed to complement other tools you may use in the administration of Scouting, such as OSM, and provides access to our badge and activity content, helping leaders plan sessions with their sections using live and up-to-date information. This first release is aimed at Cub leaders, but we will be adding Beaver content by the end of this year and Scout section material during 2020.

We hope the programme planning tool becomes a key part of a section leader’s digital toolkit and makes it easier for anyone – whether you’re an old hand or just starting out – to give our Scouts skills for life.

Why are we releasing our site to the public in its ‘beta’ phase?

In the digital age, we need to be much more flexible and responsive in how we develop new online services. For the Scouts, this means involving our members, our strongest asset, from the beginning. We’ve been lucky to test, change and develop our beta website in collaboration with volunteers, but now we’d like to share our work with a wider group and gather even more feedback. We will use this feedback to continue to develop and improve the website in the future and we will regularly update you with what you have told us and what we are doing about it.

To tell you more about our new website, we’re hosting a webinar on Wednesday 8thMay. Starting at 7pm and lasting approximately 30 minutes, we’ll be covering details of our new website, its functionality and how you can feed back into its continued development. To join the webinar, follow the link below.

https://scouts.org.uk/digitalwebinar

For those unable to attend, the webinar will be recorded and available to watch on this blog from Thursday 9thMay.

We’re interested to see what you think of our new website, and hope you’ll enjoy being a part of its development.

Comments

  1. Avatar nigelball71 02/05/2019 / 1:31 pm

    Saw a demo of the new programme tool from Andrew at the South West CCs meeting, looked really good and I can see how the value will grow over time as functionality is added. Great work!

    • Avatar James Calmus 09/05/2019 / 9:21 am

      Hi Andy – thanks so much for your feedback, it’s a really good point and something we’ve kept front-of-mind when developing the beta website. We’ve made the url for badges much more user-friendly and human-readable, so badges will be available on the beta website at cubs/activity-badges.

  2. Avatar George Ryall 03/05/2019 / 6:35 pm

    I am looking forward to seeing the new site and the process for it’s development seems very sensible. Will there be Explorer content for the digital programme planning tool eventually, this isn’t mentioned in the blog post?

    • Avatar James Calmus 09/05/2019 / 11:06 am

      Hi George, thanks for your feedback! As part of our strategy, we are reviewing the Explorer programme and its content under the 14-25 pillar of work – you can read more about this here. This means we will not be including Explorer-specific content, as we are for Beavers, Cubs and Scouts, until this work is complete. However, Explorer section leaders can still use the programme planning tool to plan their sessions, and where activities are applicable to Explorers in addition to Beavers, Cubs or Scouts, this information will be included.

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