Survey finds local councils have not improved user experience

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8th June 2016 15:27 - Information Technology

A recent survey by Socitm, entitled the Better Connected survey, has revealed that 59 per cent of the 416 local councils in the survey passed its accessibility test, an increase from 2015’s 43 per cent and 2014’s 26 per cent.

Socitm, which is a society for IT practitioners in the public sector, attributed the above figures to websites being simpler, more responsive and less cluttered, as a result of designs to improve the access to them from mobile phones.

When looking at how many councils have a mobile or responsive website, it was found that 80 per cent do, in comparison with 2015’s 57 per cent. As well as this, people’s experience of using mobile websites has also increased; with 67 per cent of council websites receive three or four stars in 2016, in comparison with 2015’s 43 per cent.

On the other hand, the market research report discovered that there has been little to no difference in overall user experience.

The 2016 survey was based on more than 3,000 responses and revealed that 44 councils were granted four stars in total and a further 138 were awarded three stars.

In 2015, 35 councils received four stars and a further 149 received three stars, which suggested that 45 per cent provide a good or very good service.

Some of the councils which achieved a total rating of four stars in 2016 are Cheshire East, Adur and Worthing, Rochdale, Kent, Wigan and Wandsworth.

The researchers also tested the councils’ websites in a series of online tasks, as well as assessing the navigation, such as how easy it is to pay council tax. The researchers discovered that it varied massively from council to council. For example, 78 per cent of websites scored three out of four stars for finding opening times for their local council’s tip, whereas just 22 per cent scored the same for advice on registering a food business.

The reasons for poor performance were factors such as complicated customer journeys, confusing headings and labels and poorly written website content.

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