The Digital Skills Portal for planning is now live!

7 min read Written by: Dave Floyd
Skyline of a Scottish City with the Digital Skills Portal - RTPI logo

This week was the official launch of the Digital Skills Portal, a project we’ve been working on alongside the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) and the Scottish Government. This portal is a key initiative under Scotland’s Digital Strategy for Planning. 

The portal serves as a central hub for planners across Scotland to develop their confidence and expertise in using digital tools. It’s designed with the philosophy of being a ‘one-stop’ portal designed to improve the confidence of digital skills, amongst all planners, in their everyday roles.   

A screenshot of the RTP - Digital Skills Portal

The new portal will allow users to: 

  1. Baseline their current digital skillset. 
  2. Access targeted learning resources to support continuous professional development. 
  3. Gain a deeper understanding of how digital tools can enhance planning practices. 

We delivered this project using agile methodologies, allowing us to adapt and iterate based on continuous user feedback. From the start, we established a good rhythm and routine of regular stand-ups and developed the service using 2-week sprints to help make sure everyone is clear on what needs to be achieved. We also implemented User-Centered Design (UCD) principles throughout the development process, ensuring the portal caters to the specific needs and preferences of its future users, and planners. 

From start to finish I enjoyed working on this project and learned a lot of good practice along the way. Here are my key takeaways:  

Building the brand and engaging the community

Developing a strong brand identity was crucial for building the portal. We created a user-friendly and visually appealing platform that reflects the forward-thinking nature of digital planning. 

Engagement and feedback with end users was a fundamental part of our delivery process. Creating a user group from across the planning spectrum we kept them engaged throughout the delivery, from the initial brand concepts, colour schemes and wireframes to final site design and flow. Feedback from the users at every stage of development proved invaluable in shaping the final product.  

Collaboration is key 

We worked closely with planning experts from Arup, Ekos  and LAS Planning to understand the type of content and how these would be best structured across the site to ensure the content was easily accessible for users and that there was a natural flow through the vast landscape of planning. 

The portal’s success wouldn’t be possible without the collaborative efforts of multiple suppliers who contributed valuable content. This combined expertise ensures the portal offers a diverse and informative resource library.  

Official launch and looking forward 

 The Scottish Planner Digital Skills Portal was officially launched today by Mr Joe FitzPatrick, Minister for Local Government Empowerment and Planning, and Dr Fiona Simpson, Chief Planner. This launch marks a significant step towards a digitally empowered planning sector in Scotland. 

 By equipping planners with the necessary digital skillset, Scotland is well-positioned to become a leader in digital planning practices. We are incredibly proud to have played a part in this exciting initiative. 

 

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