As this rewarding project draws to a close, I thought I’d share the central plank along which it has run here at the Institute of Historical Research.

We used several qualitative tools to draw up an issue list, a document containing each problem which our analysis had thrown up in as clear a language as possible.

This document became the mandate for change here; it laid down our development objectives and gave us ideas for how to measure the effect of issues using qualitative analysis. Crucially, it attempts to steer clear of technical jargon so remaining transparent to end-users.

A document like this, handled in the wrong spirit, can become a political weapon; however, I feel that this risk is outweighed by the greater need to be honest with users about how a resource which they have come to rely on is developed.

I’ll begin publishing all 9 of the issues we developed together with what we changed as a result, plus visuals of the before and after distructions of click tests and finally end up by offering an opinion (and no more) of whether we’ve been successful or not.