Publication

Review of the World Bank Road Safety website

Author(s)

Maas, J.

Year

2006

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The Road Safety website of The World Bank needs to be redeveloped. The website should reflect the new developments in the work field and the IT policy of The World Bank and support its implementation. Consulting services are being sought to assist this process, especially to review the current website and to recommend measures to be taken to improve its effectiveness and user appeal. Redevelopment of the World Bank Road Safety website must be undertaken in the context of the Internet Services Program (ISP) which is the key enabler of the Bank’s ‘eBusiness’ transformation strategy. This strategy aims “to use the Web as the primary tool for enhanced information sharing among Bank staff, donors, clients and public”. This document is meant as a brief business case, describing the target audience, purposes of the site, suggestions for the contents at the restart and the future as well as indicating the required resources for the migration and further maintenance of the site. To give direction to the transformation, some topics have to be explored to make sure the right decisions are taken. The main questions are: - What audience groups is the website aiming at? - What functions should it cover? - What kind of content meets the expectations of the audience groups? - How can the content be made easily accessible and traceable? Recommendations are given for the transformation stage, increasing accessibility and traceability, the maintenance stage and required resources, and the promotion of the new website. Transformation stage It is recommended to divide the redevelopment into at least two stages covering the different needs expected by the audience. In the first stage required basic functions have to be realized like background information on the Bank's organization, its policy, best practices of projects executed, knowledge base with relevant research outcomes and data, and valued links to other institutes or website. To guide the user, important information or new releases are highlighted in special boxes to attract his attention. In the second stage, features should be added that enable the transaction and interaction with and between the users. Users can be invited to subscribe to a mailing list that alerts them whenever a new item is posted on the website. In addition, tools and guidelines for submitting projects for finance support facilitate both project managers within the different countries and task managers to review the proposals. If executing in the proper way, this feature will reduce workload on both sides. In the future, the website can be extended with additional tools to create an interactive platform for the exchange of knowledge and experiences. Besides that, an interactive forum can be established to enable exchange of information on a tailor-made and demand-controlled basis. Accessibility and traceability To improve the access to the information on road safety, the site needs to be on a higher level, i.e. right under Transport. Cross-links with other sections within the World Bank website should be arranged; e.g. with other transport sections, urban development, health, law & regulations. To improve traceability, it is recommended to adjust the search engine on the homepage of the World Bank website in such a way that searches on road safety lead directly to the Road Safety website. Another precondition is that Road Safety acquires its own section code in the central document system Iris that can be added to any relevant document to categorize it. A central code enables other task managers to cross-link their documents and publications to Road Safety as well. Short abstracts should be added to relevant documents and publications to reveal their content in the list of outcomes of searches. Important documents should be stressed by using highlight boxes to draw the user's attention. Maintenance stage After the new website has become available it has to be maintained. That stage, which will be ongoing, has to be considered as being equally important and difficult to execute. Only a well-maintained website, with up-to-date information and features that meet the user's interests, is worthwhile visiting frequently. Extra resources for the website development have to be made free to support the task manager in fulfilling The World Bank's ambition to improve road safety in developing countries. The establishment of an internal and external editing board that looks after the content guarantees the quality of the revealed information. Promoting the new website Promoting the new website is advisable as the current Road Safety website has been asleep for a while. Also due to the fact that it is very deeply embedded into the Bank's website structure, the audience groups have to be alerted to the new website. To create awareness a special email can be sent off to signal the launch to represents of the target groups. In this email a direct linkage should be included to facilitate the traceability of the Road Safety site. The audience should be asked to bookmark the site at once to simplify the next visit. The target groups should also be offered to subscribe themselves to an email service that indicates whenever a new item has been posted. The webmaster of the Bank's external and internal homepage should be asked to publish a small news item indicating the launch of the website to the whole staff of the Bank. Presenting the website at an internal Bank meeting is a good way to inform and commit colleagues.

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