Reporting a missed bin collection is much harder than finding council rubbish tip opening times, according to a new study of local authority mobile phone usability.
The study – part of Socitm’s latest Better Connected survey, found that 78% of county councils tested scored four or three stars when tested on the ease of finding opening times for tips.
However, that number dropped to just 41% (for all tiers of council) when researchers attempted to report a missed bin.
A statement from Socitm, the representative body for public sector ICT workers, said: “Waste and recycling services are among the most visible services councils run and resident satisfaction with them can be a barometer for overall satisfaction with the council.
“Councils have financial incentives to reduce landfill and it follows that excellent digital services are needed to support council activity in this area.”
Both tasks were tested on mobile phones over the recent Christmas break.
According to a previous survey, rubbish and recycling accounts for the largest number of visits to council websites, with more than 17% of visits.
For sites that performed less well for the ‘find council tip opening times’ task, deficiencies included over-wordy content, jargon and broken links, Socitm said.
Four of the five councils that got two or fewer stars had failed to optimise their sites for mobile, which severely affected the experience.
Sites that performed particularly well on this task were Warwickshire, Hampshire, Oxfordshire Kent and Nottinghamshire.
According to Socitm, the ‘report missed bin’ task drew widespread complaints from reviewers about users being required to sign up for customer accounts before they could report a bin
Socitm said: “Best practice is to encourage customer account sign up by providing a list of benefits –eg. being able to track the progress of a report – rather than mandate it, which will encourage visitors to abandon the online route and resort to the phone.”
Sites that did well on ‘missed bin’ and are mentioned in the service report included Barnet, Cambridge City, Dover, Flintshire and Wolverhampton.