Council websites ‘underperform on mobiles’

Users of council websites are twice as satisfied by their experience using desktop technology than if they use a mobile device, according to a new report.

The finding is set to be included in a wide-ranging review of council web services, Better Connected, to be launched in March by Socitm, the professional body for public sector ICT professionals.

The lower rating for mobile user experience was revealed alongside the early release of information relating to the useability of roadworks information included in the survey.

A statement from Socitm said: “Across the whole Better Connected survey, reviewers had twice as satisfactory an experience using desktops to complete tasks as they did on mobile devices.

“With usage of mobile devices to access council websites increasing rapidly – up to 36% of visits in December according to Socitm data – this needs to become a prime area of focus for council web teams.”

The Better Connected survey tested how easy it was for site users to use a range of council services online.

The survey included 14 questions on finding out about roadworks, where users were only allowed to use Android or Apple mobile devices.

Reviewers were asked to assess whether relevant pieces of information and pages for roadworks information linked together to make a smooth, coherent journey, how effectively it was promoted within the site, and whether any sites might be recommended to other councils as examples of good practice.

Users on the roadworks task reported that some sites impressed by pointing to external websites providing useful maps of roadworks along with the associated data.

The best results came when a simple list was provided with links through to more detail or a link to a national external site.

The worst results were reported for site-generated maps which required a lot of scrolling and zooming to get a result.

Colin Marrs

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