Better connected 2009: a snapshot of local authority websites
Produced by: Socitm Insight
The structure of this report follows the criteria for high-quality local authority websites that develop the ideas that websites should be 'useful, usable and used' (Version 2 of that framework published in Better connected: aiming high, December 2005).
Section 1 Introduction
We introduce the key features of the survey, including its purpose, the process we follow, the ranking system and the 'useful, usable and used' framework that we use for assessment.
Section 2 National policies and direction
We offer an overview of national policies, initiatives and legislation that will have a strategic impact on the development of websites in the next three to five years.
Section 3 Overview of this year's results
We provide the national picture in terms of overall rankings (ie excellent and transactional sites). This is followed by our Top 20, our analysis by types of council, our view of improvement trends and, finally, an examination of some of our favourite sites.
Section 4 This year's results - useful content
We describe the detailed analysis of the results, focusing firstly on content. We report here on five scenarios of typical visitors searching for information content, and then examine other aspects of content such as currency of information, use of links, provision of services, response to e-mail and the practice of participation.
Section 5 This year's results - usability
The second stage of the results focuses on ease of use. This covers ease of finding, use of navigational aids such as A to Z lists, search engines and locational data, general navigation, accessibility, readability and, finally, technical resilience. All these points contribute to the usability of a local authority website.
Section 6 This year's results - usage
Our third perspective is focused on usage. Switching from the product to the customer, we examine different aspects of the demand side, highlighting trends in take-up and visitor feedback. We provide the latest information about internet access, visitor usage, satisfaction and behaviour , culminating with advice about better marketing.
Section 7 Moving forwards
We look back at how well councils have improved the content of their sites. Using important findings from some of our supporting surveys, we then look forwards to what councils might do in applying new technology to make sites more usable and better used
Section A new strategic approach
The financial crisis puts the spotlight on self-service. Here, we provide a blueprint for the way in which public sector websites should respond to this challenge over the next five years.
Section 9 Conclusions
This year's report
The Main report (184 pages) is available now as an electronic version and as a printed report from 20 March 2009.
The Full results report
(240 pages) is an expanded version only available electronically. It has the same structure as the Main report, but contains much greater detail in the three central sections, plus three extra appendices.
We have sent to each fully-paid up local authority subscriber to Socitm Insight more detailed analysis of the results of the accessibility testing supplied by the RNIB. This was sent to the nominated contact, who may well not be the web manager, or even in the same section or directorate . If as the web manager, or member of the web team, you would like a copy sent direct to you, then e-mail email@example.com and we will send it by return.
Here, subscribers to Socitm Insight can download the summary of the results of the main survey, together with supporting material as follows:
- An index of all council references as examples of good practice and entries in top lists, etc
- A summary of the accessibility results from RNIB
- A summary of SiteMorse results on technical performance
- A summary of Hitwise results on market share of take-up
- A 'pdf' version is available of the Main report.
The charge for Non Insight subscribers and Socitm members (who don't subscribe to Insight) are :
Non Insight subscribers - Socitm members
Non Insight subscribers - all other organisations
|Back copies of the annual survey may be available (subject to stock) call 01604 497774 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for details|
(Please read the terms and conditions of sale
|Pay on invoice (quoting PO reference)
Pay by credit card (using our online shop)
Last modified: 15th March 2010
Mobile survey results spreadsheet (123.5 KB XLS)
Email test results spreadsheet (2.22 MB XLS)
Hitwise councils spreadsheet (1.51 MB XLS)
Hitwise councils by type spreadsheet (8.53 MB XLS)
Index of references spreadsheet (1.17 MB XLS)
Non local authorities website results spreadsheet (165 KB XLS)
Readability assessments spreadsheet (28.5 KB XLS)
Results of main survay for local authorities spreadsheet (2.71 MB XLS)
SiteMorse results spreadsheet (3.21 MB XLS)
Special web 2.0 survey (388.5 KB XLS)
RNIB Master spreadsheet (7.62 MB XLS)