Less than half revamped council websites pass usability test

Fewer than half of the 91 council websites revamped between April 2016 and March 2017 have passed both key performance tests carried out as part of Socitm’s ‘Better Connected’ survey.

The annual survey uses a series of mystery shopping tests carried out by a team of reviewers to test the performance of all UK council websites from a viewer perspective. Results showed that 45 per cent of the 91 new sites scored 3 or 4 stars for both tests, compared with 41 per cent of all council websites achieving 3 or 4 stars for the same two tests.

The survey also found that 53 per cent of the redesigned sites scored 3 and 4 stars overall in Better Connected, compared with 55 per cent of all councils. In addition, 43 per cent of the sites that underwent redesign in 2016-17 were previously not purposed for access from mobiles.

Vicky Sargent, director of the Better Connected programme, said: “These results suggest that re-designed sites are only just outperforming the rest 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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