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The customer

Bolton Council is a local authority, serving over 220 thousand residents with information; advice, and services on subjects ranging from education and community activities to care facilities and bin collections.

The challenge

From the outset, the team at Bolton had a clear vision for the local directory to act as a platform that would help the community help themselves, through self-discovery and self-curation.

The ability to combine local information as well as centralized healthcare advice and government services from the NHS and Gov.uk websites, aimed to provide an effective, consistent, and holistic directory where users can find the most relevant results, without the need for the Council to create duplicate content on topics already covered elsewhere.

Bolton Council went to tender and selected Squiz as their digital partner to achieve their vision of:

  • Creating a personalized and flexible local directory
  • Implementing an intuitive and accessible interface
  • Centralizing and structuring information from multiple sources
  • In my 13 years as a development manager in customer service, Funnelback has been the most innovative and easy team to work with to create a positive customer experience.

    Chris Hart
    Development Manager, Bolton Council
    The approach

    Moving away from the Council’s traditional role of simply being a service provider, the directory was also designed to be flexible enough that the local community could list events and activities, and in doing so transform a static database into a dynamic community portal. This required a sophisticated search solution, capable of handling multiple formats of data, from multiple sources, before displaying the results in a consistently easy-to-navigate format.

    To do so, Funnelback worked closely with Bolton Council, drawing up a plan combining ‘out of the box’ elements such as auto-complete and faceted navigation, with more bespoke features aimed at creating a dynamic experience for users, such as postcode searching, map outputs, and basket style comparison capabilities.

    Squiz deployed a smart and robust Funnelback search implementation ensuring that users could find the information they were looking for online, without the need for shifting to more costly to run channels such as call centers or face-to-face contact hubs.

    The results

    Bolton Council was empowered to help the community help themselves, by implementing a platform that provided faceted navigation, shortlisting, and location-based search.

    Combined, these features have added shape and structure to an ever-expanding database of information and delivered a dynamic local directory, which fulfills its goal of connecting the community to vital services and local information.

    Widely used by the public and practitioners alike, the precise search and filtering, coupled with shortlisting and comparison tools, allows users to create their own personalized ‘digital prescription’ on a topic that matters to them, which they can then save, update and share.

    Not only meeting its obligations to make information accessible under the Care Act, but the directory has also proved such a successful tool in connecting users to local services and aiding channel shift, that Bolton Council is investigating rolling out Funnelback across more of their public-facing portals in the near future.

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