iwight.com re-launch: Islanders frustrated by new Website

Despite the council working on the much-promoted new site for over a year, all of the pages in Google just hit a ‘Page Not Found’. The shame is, it should have been easy to avoid.

Work on the new Isle of Wight council Website has been underway by council’s Communications team for over a year. Despite this, it was launched yesterday displaying errors and with much of the information residents expect to see still unavailable.

The council’s Communications team, who took overall charge of the re-launch, had previously stated that one of “the main drivers for updating the website” was “to reduce the amount of content online and focus on what is important to you.”

One wag, joked with OnTheWight, that the council had been successful, as most of the pages were unavailable.

Comments on the new look of the site has been varied, erring on the non-complimentary, bringing comments wondering if it was “Just a temp holding site?”

None of the old links work
When launching a new version of a Website, the most basic of requirements is that the Web addresses that the site used to use, also work in the new version. The re-launched version of iwight has dropped all of these, so none of the old Webpages can be found.

Search results – Page not found
Anyone searching using Google will find that any page that is pointing to the iwight site will be frustrated, displaying “Page Not Found. We’re sorry”.

The same is true for all Web bookmarks that anyone might have had.

It’s even true for all of the council social media links that are either on their Facebook page, or Twitter account.

Monumental mistake
This is not only a monumental mistake, but withholds the information from people as was demonstrated by the message left on the council’s own Facebook page,

Cheryl BaileyBabe Buck: Just tried to access this new website with regards to the Heights etc for information and all I am getting is page not found!!!!! V.V.frustrating!

The council responded, by giving Cheryl a new URL. Not exactly a realistic fix if this has to be done for each person frustrated by trying to find information on the iwight site.

Search not working either
For those that think that they can use the search on the iwight site to locate their information, think again. Search is met with the message, “The search index is currently being rebuilt as a result of our new website. Whilst the indexing is running the search will unfortunately be unavailable. We apologise for any inconvenience.”

In short, there’s no obvious – or circuitous – way to access information you’re after.

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Tuesday, 16th April, 2013 4:55pm


ShortURL: http://wig.ht/2aH6

Filed under: Island-wide, Isle of Wight Council, Isle of Wight News, Online, Top story

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Any views or opinions presented in the comments below are solely those of the author and do not represent those of OnTheWight.


  1. steephilljack

    16.Apr.2013 5:12pm

    Freedom of information, Ho Ho Ho !

  2. Not setting up 301 redirects for URL changes is a pretty rookie fail…

    Just had a click around to look for some info myself and my god it’s confusing. Search is also offline while they rebuild the index (which surely could have been prepared before the release?)

  3. It’s not too bad.

    Take a look at gov.uk – a good example of searchable, indexable information.

  4. Ho hum! Says it all really. We’d have all been better off asking Wightlink or Red Funnel to set up the site, and in the case of Wightlink that’s saying something!
    Just part of the current cabal’s ‘slash and burn’ policy no doubt.

  5. What a shambles, the IWC Communications departmewnt obviously have no idea how to communicate on line. Going back my army days the old saying “They couldn’t organise a p***up in a brewery” seems to be very apt and if it takes a high paid bunch of computer “experts” over a year to create such mayhem- the only comment is “Unfit for pupose”

  6. Citizen Ken

    16.Apr.2013 9:01pm

    Have you people nothing better to do than whinge and wallow in anti-Council misery? The site is fine, and you can find things easily through the A-Z list at the top of the page. Get a life – this is like “Points of View” forthe even smaller minded!

  7. Evidently not too small to get you spending your precious time with us this evening, you-person!

  8. Communications department, isn’t that the part run by a London council for a good few thousand quid a year? My nipper says that ‘if they would pay him and his mate that money they would have no problems getting the site up and running quickly’.

  9. Spoilsport! We’re enjoying ourselves. Someone’s got to bring these incompetants to account…
    And anyway, what’s so wrong with Points of View?

  10. Web Communications

    17.Apr.2013 8:20am

    Just to be fair to the people who worked on the project:

    What went well:

    – the site structure and architecture has improved massively. It is much more streamlined. The idea of having a A-Z to services at the very top is very good.

    What went wrong:

    – the problem is more to do with , maybe, experience in rolling out this type of project, rather than technical. Prior to launching the new site, the team had to make a list of all the old most important links and set up redirects to the new relevant links. In cases when this is not practical or relevant (such as information that they reclassified or are getting rid off), the redirect should have be done to the top level of the closest match session.

    – they should put a pilot version running along side the old version for a period of 2 months (before setting up redirects). This would enable the most accurate user testing, would help them managing the harsh unfair critics (let’s be honest, there are a number of those), and would allow people to learn about the new site before switching over. This is more about stakeholder management than a technical issue, and is key to a good project management.

    – has the council made sure that the people they employed in key places to deliver this project, had good web experience? If not, the fault is not on this person, but on the council for not employing people with the right experience and skills and not providing training to those who they employ.

  11. @web communications, you are quite right in some of your comments. It seems looking at the new site there is a lack of experience in those that put the site together. Yes a pilot version should have running alongside the old version until all the problems were ironed out. And yes someone should have been overseeing the project.
    I tried to find information that has disappeared from the site. There is no cohesion in menu’s. Eg Top tasks for residents has two items re waste collection, however other areas of information break up these items. Surely all waste collection items should together. Same with Licensing, in the middle of the list we have pay your business rates.
    It is a messy site and if anyone had any gumption at County Hall they would pull it and reinstate the old site until the issues have been ironed out.
    You hit the nail on the head when you say the council has not employed the people with the right experiene and skills to carry out this task and in the end the amount of time and effort to make the site acceptable is going to cost us the residents once more because of shoddy decisions by those who should know better.

  12. I honestly thought iwight.com had been hacked and replaced by a phishing site. It is atrocious. Very badly designed. I can’t believe it took a whole year to design. I could have done better in a day with a template on WordPress.

    I really can’t see how it is an improvement on the last. The colour scheme is gaudy and the fact they have an A-Z is just proof that the site layout is bad enough to need one.

    Really, really piss poor. Has anyone done an FOIA request to find out how much those bozo’s spent on this rubbish?

  13. I’ve just tried to access the library pages, and they’re all out, but the online catalogue is still working fine:

    The website used to be excellent. Perhaps when it’s finally up and running it’ll be even better, but it’s a shame that it’s going through such an inaccessible transition.

    Still, perhaps this is an appropriate day for it to happen, with the funeral of the person whose government started the attacks on local government which have put so many public servants on the dole heap and made the lives of those left even harder than they were before…

    • had to negative your comment Rowan as the website wasn’t previously excellent, it was a total mess and you were better off using a google search as their own search was hopeless. Totally agree with your final paragraph though.

  14. Public information that is their responsibility to keep in the public domain is inaccessible, that is maladministration and inexcusable.

  15. I have just had the misfortune of the new web site,great fun if you want to waste some time.I tried to log in but it would not let me then i tried as if i had not logged in before and set up a new account.I received an e mail with a temporary pass word.I then went back to the site and logged in with my temporary pass word hay presto it worked>it then told me to go back to the site that i wanted to access and log in.wouldn’t you know it, it didn’t work so now we can’t fill in forms on line ether.So can someone at the council please sort out this mess?but not the so called experts who messed it up in the first place you lot can go back to Westminster council and have a well earned rest

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