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Local government websites failing mobile users

Socitm’s 2014 ‘Better connected’survey has revealed that just 31% of local authority sites achieved its standard for mobile access, while around a third of visits to local government sites were made from smartphone or tablet devices.

This is the first year that the study has fully incorporated testing of website performance on mobile devices. But, according to figures from the report, there has been a drop in the number of four star sites 39 in 2013 to 31 in 2014, and of three star sites from 165 to 157, which reflects the fact that website performance from mobile devices has been fully incorporated into the report.

Writing in the foreword to ‘Better connected’ 2014, Helen Milner, CEO of the Tinder Foundation, which runs UK Online Centres, praised Socitm’s decision to make mobile a key area for assessment in the report.

“This is one area where the public sector needs to ensure that they don’t get left behind,” she said.“For many ­– especially those on low incomes, and therefore most in need of accessing these services – mobile is the only way that they go online. There are some good exemplars for mobile delivery in this year’s report, and next year I’d like to see lots more.”

The 2014 report also suggested that the results are consistent with results from Socitm’s website performance service, which recorded a decline in visitor satisfaction of 12% in 2013 compared with the previous year.Four of the 14 top tasks tested for the 2014 survey were done so exclusively on mobile devices with 126 sites (31%) passing the ‘Better connected’ standard for mobile access.

However, as part of a survey on local authorities' digital engagement it was revealedthat this is patchy but performance is improving. For example, 32% of sites use online customer accounts, 36% send out email alerts, and 88% of home pages had some form of social media advertised.  

Tell us what you think – have your say below or email [email protected]


Richard Brearley   06/03/2014 at 18:39

Councils have a driving business need to make their websites mobile-ready. Much of their priority audience segments will use mobiles as a preference to desktop devices. So it is vital that council websites are redesigned to deliver responsive design - websites which work perfectly with both mobile devices and PCs. They also tend to need content restructuring and support for key customer journeys and top tasks, to enable more efficient channel shift to reduce the burden on contact centers and service staff, all of which are crucial to mobile self service. And self service continues to be a business priority and a challenge for many councils. In addition there is a need to make priority transactions easy to use, and to make them available via mobile devices. This can be harder but it's an area Technophobia have a lot of experience in. Mobile web is crucial to councils.

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