in Blogging

What do you want from this blog

Over the past few months I’ve been developing this blog as a way to communicate with residents, to let you know what I am thinking, what I’m doing on your behalf, and to highlight issues in which you might be interested.

But now I want to ask, what do you want from this blog and from me, as a councillor?

On several occasions I’ve referred to the fact that I see this blog as an experiment – but it’s been entirely my experiment.  While there are a few themes or recurrent topics the postings have largely been driven by what’s on my mind or the issues I’m dealing with at the time.

Following on from the redesign I think it’s appropriate to consider what works well and what could be better.

So now, I am asking you for some input:

  • What do you want to see in this blog?
  • What do you think is good?
  • What do you think could be better, or shouldn’t be there at all?

Basically, I’m asking for any comments you want to make, however big small, complimentary or critical..

You can either email me at cllr@jamescousins.com, comment on this post, or contact me through any of the ways listed on my contact page –  I’m looking forward to hearing from you.

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  1. What I want from the website is probably different to your target audience, as I am not a resident, merely a twitterer with interest in local government who came across you and your blog from there.

    I imagine your target audience is people who live in your ward/council area, so you want to tell them about things which might impact upon them.

    Me, I’m more interested in the ‘what is life like as a councillor’ bit. But with my ‘web accessibility’ head on, I’d like your styling to include :active and :focus styling on links, as well as :hover, to make it more friendly for non-mouse users.

    • Yes, the primary audience are local residents. I would not particularly consider myself an ego-blogger looking for a huge audience, though I suspect I have my moments. And I do occasionally blog on subjects that are not directly related to the area. My suspicion is that I probably am too local and that some extra non-Wandsworth posting would improve the balance and add a bit of flavour.

      A good point about the accessibility. I have tried to be as accessible and compliant as possible, but know there are bits that are not fully compliant (the hideously unreliable Google maps, for example, use iframes). But there’s no excuse for not having active and focus stylings – I’ll get that sorted in the next few days.

  2. Is it possible to toggle the time frame of the crime maps, e.g. for a whole month or the year so far?

    Other than that I would say that the focus of the blog is good coming from a (hopefully) soon to be local resident, particularly on the crime and regeneration front.

    • A good question. It is something I’ve been looking at, but suspect such interactive maps are far beyond my technical expertise. I looked at producing the maps for different time frames (e.g. months) and time bands (e.g. hour of day). Here the problem is finding the time to do it and also a fear that Google maps is not terribly reliable so I’m not sure how consistently it would present the data to visitors. If you know of any useful mapping tools please let me know.

      On the second point, can I say (hopefully) welcome to Wandsworth!

    • Well, given that I’m using a Google provided template, hosted on Google Documents, to provide the XML I fail to see where user error come into it when I’m frequently told that that maps do not always load.

      I’m not quite sure what point you are trying to make with your second point. As you will know from our correspondence (and the correspondence you have had with other councillors) there are issues when councillors have to, or may have to, act quasi-judicially – most notably when exercising the planning or licensing functions and their actions subject to legal appeal. Unless you can correct me, I do not believe I have ever referred to pre-determination in any other circumstance.