The Green Party’s website has come out as top performer for its minimal complexity and slick user experience, while the Liberal Democrats’ site fares much worse, with the longest response time.
Ahead of today’s general election (8 June), a series of tests carried out by digital performance management company Dynatrace found that the Green Party offered the fastest user experience on both mobile and desktops.
Dynatrace monitored the speed of the main parties’ websites over a period of seven days, as well as measuring user experience and design.
It reported that the Green Party had the “lightest website” with a lower byte count, few hosts and a “low number of objects” on the site, contributing to a better user experience, while Labour, the Conservatives and the Lib Dems all had what it described as “splash landing pages” with the aim of capturing voter data. This added a further step for users to find the information they wanted.
Michael Allen, Dynatrace’s EMEA vice-president, said digital technology was playing an “increasingly important role and exerting more influence on the electorate’s decisions”.
“The web is often the first place that we look for the information we need to make the biggest decisions in life – from buying a car, to booking a holiday or choosing a leader for our country,” he added.
“As such, each of the parties vying for Number 10 should remember the old adage that first impressions really do count.
“Delivering a poor experience to anyone looking for information on the party website in the lead-up to an election could ultimately result in a lost opportunity to convert visitors to voters. Each party should therefore ensure its website is optimised to deliver the best possible user experience, especially as we get closer to the wire and web traffic increases.”
Dynatrace ran hourly automated tests over one week in May to track how quickly people could get onto the parties’ homepages when entering the website URL into the browser.
The Green Party came out top overall with a 1.6 second response time on mobile devices and 3.9 seconds on desktops.
On both desktops and mobile devices, the Tories came second in terms of average response time and the number of hosts (third-party content), with a response time of 6.4 seconds on desktops, 3.7 seconds on mobile and an average number of seven hosts.
Labour had an average of 34 hosts on desktops and 42 on mobile devices, while the Lib Dems had the longest response time of 13.5 seconds on desktop devices.
All the main parties have had a clear focus on digital campaigning this year, mainly through social media. However, voters are still unable to cast their votes online, which could lead to fewer people turning up at the polling stations today.
Another study, by broadband advice site Cable.co.uk, found that 42% of people who do not plan to vote would vote if they could do it online. The survey also revealed that half of the people who are undecided whether to vote would be more likely to vote online.