Top Tasks

The Gerry McGovern top tasks model, as supported by SOCITM is a mechanism for navigating content on your website. Used by local government, the top tasks model, often referred to as popular pages, top ten or top hits is a way of displaying the most popular pages on your website.

This can be done automatically or manually and displays direct links to pages that is most hit by users, not the top pages the organisation would like to display. I refer to this as a form of user generated navigation.

A perfect solution? Not quite.

Top tasks show users the most popular pages on the website; But this content is not personal to the user and assumes their purpose for visiting the website.

In my opinion, this key area on the homepage can be much better utilised by the user and organisation.

By providing an area on the homepage that is customisable, the user is able to place links that they find most interesting for their navigation.

An example of this may be a person visiting a council website that checks the site weekly for local fitness class timetables. This may be the only purpose for this user to visit the site. However, using the Top Tasks model, fitness class timetables may not be one of the most popular pages on the website and therefore would not warrant a direct link on the homepage. This forces the user to navigate to the desired page through several clicks on a regular basis. If this user was able to place a direct link on the homepage whenever they visit that website, this has clear benefits for them, but it also benefits the organisation.

In a digital environment, by allowing users to offer their interests and engage with a website, the webmaster is able to create focus groups, common interest groups or digital tribes.

Using the example of fitness class timetables above, it may only be a small percentage of web traffic that is interested in exercise classes and choose to customise their homepage with a direct link, but this small percentage, when volunteering their information (e.g. email address) and deciding to engage with that service, can provide the organisation a clear indication of who is are at the centre of that particular digital tribe and who would be instrumental in the development of that service.

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