William Eichler 11 July 2017

Revamped council websites fail usability test

Fewer than half of revamped council websites pass usability test, digital experts find.

Socitm’s Better Connected survey assessed 91 council websites which were re-designed between April 2016 and March 2017. Fewer than half achieved a pass mark.

The analysis focused on two tests: the usability of the site when accessed from a mobile device, and the usefulness of site search, navigation and A-Z facilities.

Results showed that 45% of the 91 new sites scored 3 or 4 stars for both tests, compared with 41% of all council websites achieving 3 or 4 stars for the same two tests.

The survey also found 48 of the 91 redesigned sites (53%) scored 3 and 4 stars overall in Better Connected, compared with 55% of all councils.

‘These results suggest that re-designed sites are only just outperforming the rest,’ said Vicky Sargent, director of the Better Connected programme, ‘indicating that councils may not be getting the value they might from their investment in upgrading sites, including new content management systems and other software, changes in site information architecture and visual design.

‘While user experience is only part of the story, and judgement of RoI requires analysis of user numbers and productivity gains, these results should be the cause of some concern.’

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