In the Socitm Better Connected 2012 report, simpler, more focused websites have been rated higher in Socitm Insight's annual survey of all council website.
Of all the Local/District Councils websites built on GOSS iCM software, 55% significantly increased their scores with 28% maintaining their previous good scores. Significant praise was given to GOSS clients, South Tyneside Council and North Yorkshire County Council for being in the "Top 20 best developed sites". Additionally, many councils who joined GOSS in the last 12 month, such as Craven District Council, saw their scores jump 2 points.
The Socitm Better Connected 2012 report highlights examples of best practice, as well as rating each local authority on a scale of 1 to 4.
Particular mention in the report was given to 4 star rated websites.
This is a great website, it really feels like the user experience has been carefully considered in the site's creation. SOCITM Better Connected 2012 reviewer
A very strong website - strong top tasks focus from top to bottom; engaging; interactive; highly-featured. It is interesting how, at first glance, the site does not seem all that different from other sites - but in the clarity of its implementation, and the fast routes through to tasks, it is much better than most. SOCITM Better Connected 2012 reviewer
Socitm Insight introduced changed criteria to encourage councils to simplify website design and content to meet better the needs of online customers and encourage more people to shift to the web channel.
Reviewers have tested a series of 'top tasks' for:
- Ease of finding the task (eg arrival from Google, use of internal search, use of A to Z, use of information architecture and use of landing pages)
- Ease of completing the task (step-by-step customer journey to completion, promotion of online option, assessment of supporting information)
Overall 83% of GOSS clients either increased or maintained their previously high scores.
The concept of Top Tasks was evaluated in the 2012 report, an area GOSS have considerable expertise. Examples of this are seen in Craven District Council's website, which moved from a 1 star to a 3 star rating. The reviewers are taking the view that less is better.
Other areas being reviewed include user journeys, an area that GOSS has extensive skills in, as this thought leadership article illustrates, Defining your website structure and user journeys.
Additionally website accessibility is being measured.