1 Big Database gets One Big Upgrade
Families in Bristol, Bath and South Gloucestershire have been using 1 Big Database (www.1bigdatabase.org.uk) to find childcare providers, events and family information since 2004, and March 2016 saw a new version of the 1 Big Database web site launched complete with a range of new features and a totally redesigned ‘look and feel’.
The new site has already been receiving hugely positive feedback from parents and professionals.
Jordana Jeffrey, Designer at focusgov, explains the approach taken when creating the new site design:
"Our aim was to create an intuitive, visually appealing accessible website. We included a modern sans-serif font that is decorative but readable and the colours were chosen to compliment each other as well as existing branding whilst remaining neutral. The colour palette meets contrast ratios specified by Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 so there is sufficient contrast between text and background.
The supporting icons help to break up the information as many users can find a text heavy website overwhelming. Icons not only assist with meaning but they are somewhat playful and add character to the site."
New searching technology has been introduced to provide accurate, meaningful results. Location searches can now be based on postcode (partial or full), regions, town and villages and even down to road name; with a useful ‘autocompletion / suggestion’ facility to help reduce errors and frustration. ‘Click throughs’ are now tracked and used as a factor in determining the ranking of future search results - helping to promote popular content. Additionally the site is integrated with ‘real time’ information about local transport - helping to provide routes and estimated journey times to events and provider venues.
The Childcare Provider search has been re-categorised for ease of use and includes a new filter allowing providers to be sourced based on 'school pick up’, already noted as a significant improvement by parents using the new site.
There is also a big change ‘behind the scenes’ with the introduction of a new update feature for childcare providers which allows them to supplement their standard OfSted data with additional information such as their values, capacity, costs and cost variations and current availability; really important information for parents searching for childcare providers to suit their individual needs.
Simon Newing, MD at focusgov, feels the updating facility will play a key role going forward:
“The new 1 Big Database is going to be especially helpful to parents with the rollout of thirty hours of free childcare. Sometimes the information we receive from Ofsted can be lacking in both detail and personality - our new updating feature is going to allow childcare providers to add their own voice to their data, and provide much more useful information to parents at source”.
1 Big Database is a partnership project between Bristol City Council, Bath & NE Somerset Council and South Gloucestershire Council and helps the three partners to share resources and reduce costs whilst meeting duties from the Childcare Bill and the Children and Families Act.
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