Council websites have poor usability, study shows

The UK's local councils are not doing enough to make their websites usable, according to a study by consultancy firm Webcredible.

The UK's local councils are not doing enough to make their websites usable, according to a study by consultancy firm Webcredible.

The firm found that out of Soctim's top 20 council websites, only four achieved a score of more than 60%. The average rating was 45.5%.

The research found the most common problem was websites being hard to navigate, making key information such as online payment applications hard to find. London boroughs Lambeth and Camden offered the best online experience, whereas Barking and Dagenham, also London, were the worst.

Webcredible interviewed 949 members of the public, and asked for their feedback on four areas of web design:

- Site and homepage priorities, such as a prominent "contact" link, homepage returns buttons, lists of services and text resizing controls

- Important tasks, such as paying council tax, finding a councillor, planning applications.

- Transactions, ease of online forms and information gathering

- Navigation and orientation, including sitemaps, searching and language

Councils did not fare well in providing visible contact details, access for people with visibility problems, or a clear link back to the previous page.

The report said councils were good at providing contact details for councillors and a homepage link on every page.

Comment on this article: computer.weekly@rbi.co.uk

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