The Communities of Interest (COI) website service, provided by the council's ICT unit, facilitates the development of on-line communities by working with groups, communities or individuals who are linked by similar circumstances, locations, themes or interests.

The provision of these unique community web sites allows those involved to deliver content tailored towards the needs of their own interest group, which in turn supports the development of that community, strengthening its networks and providing a forum for peer-support.

The service uniquely offers design, technical advice, marketing guidance and ongoing support within the Sunderland area. This support removes the technical skills required for a successful web site, allowing communities to focus on developing strong content and promote their community.

The design of a COI website follows the guidelines that were laid down by the Office of the e-Envoy, combined with the skills and experience of the council's ICT unit. This enables a bespoke process tailored to the needs of each community whilst ensuring that high production standards are maintained.

It is these high standards and unique skills set which have resulted in the successful COI model being adopted corporately as a standard from Partnership Project Microsites. This service is now offered to our internal customers. The web development officer will liaise closely with Communications in order to ensure that sites have the appropriate levels of city and partnership branding, whilst enabling each project a degree of individuality.

A typical COI website contains:

  • Integrated simple and advanced search engines
  • Easy to use navigation
  • Search engine friendly design
  • Visual styling to fit community branding and design
  • Very high level of access for visually impaired users through auto text enlargement
  • Complies with Web Accessibility Standards (DDA compliant)

The service also provides training and builds community capacity in a wide range of related subjects, which combine together to allow communities to effectively market and manage their own site on a day to day basis. Subjects such as:

  • How to write in a web friendly way
  • Search engine marketing, what works and what doesn't
  • Online and offline marketing and networking skills
  • How to write a press release, catch the attention of an editor
  • Creating and preparing images for the web, improve download time and presentation

If you are part of an organised community within the Sunderland area, and would like to discuss the development of your own COI web site, please contact us. 

View the range of COI websites in the 'External links' below..