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More councils win Socitm website approval


Better Connected survey shows number with three or four stars for usability rises from 180 to 226

An increased number of local authority websites have emerged with positive rankings from the annual series of surveys in public sector IT association Socitm’s Better Connected programme.

The total achieving three or four stars, indicating good or very good performance, increased from 180 to 226, while those with the negatives of one or two stars totalled 190, compared with 232 last year.

There was a reduction to the number with four stars, down from 44 to 36, but this was attributed largely to a strong focus on tests in accessibility for people with disabilities to achieve the rating. Due to their cost these were confined to the websites of councils that are Socitm members.

Among the survey report’s observations is that the websites’ performance in service based tasks was generally less good than in the mobile and search, navigation and A-Z tests that focus on findability of content and the performance of site tools. This suggests there is still work to do in creating properly digital services, as opposed to simply placing an existing service online.

Four star winners

The list of the councils with four stars includes counties such as Aberdeenshire, Oxfordshire and Kent, districts and boroughs such as West Lancashire, Chesterfield and Lewes, and urban areas such as Islington and South Tyneside.

The survey included a team of reviewers visiting council websites to explore their ability to provide quick and easy customer journeys and successful resolution of a series of informational and transactional tasks. These were selected from service areas that have high web visitor numbers based on data from Socitm’s website performance service.

The surveys also took in testing the sites’ performance on smartphones.

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