Website usability testing – Democracy

For January’s website usability test we headed to Rugby Library to test pages within the Democracy section of the website. We set three common tasks for people to try to complete:

  1. Elections – Find the 2010 election results for Nuneaton
  2. Councillors – Find the email address for the Cubbington County Councillor
  3. Petitions – Find a completed petition, number of votes and the response.

Outcomes and improvements

The results from the sessions highlighted some areas of improvement for the website. Some of the improvements need further development or changes from a third-party supplier so may take a longer to carry out.

Elections

All of the people we tested managed to find the information required with 80% saying it was easier, or as expected. 20% said it was more difficult than they would expect.

Feedback

  • Search results on the website were poor for election results. When searching for specific election results it does not bring back any hits.
  • The link to “Past election results” was not very obvious on the Elections page.
  • Some of the links on the page are repeated and a bit confusing

Improvements

  • Investigate search engine spidering issues or possible alternatives.
  • Elections page content, headers and links has been tidied up.
  • A new tab system instead of dropbown (bookmark) links for the webpage has been implemented. (Will go live when the website migrates to WordPress)
  • Past election results page could be included on the Elections page as a tab, and not linking to a separate page, needs further investigation as data is pulled from another source.
  • An interactive map which shows click-able electoral areas is in the early stages of development.

Councillors

This task did not fair very well. Users found the Councillors page okay but then couldn’t work out how to find or sort councillors to find the one they wanted. 80% found the task more difficult than they would expect.

Feedback

  • The search engine did not find specific results for the Cubbington Councillor
  • The date search box is confusing
  • It doesn’t look like you can scroll down the page, the main content is hidden
  • There is no indication how the Cllrs are sorted (by surname)
  • The links to sort councillors by Division or Party are not obvious and look like headers. There is no separation between the links
  • Not obvious what “Division” means

Improvements

  • Styled the “View by” so they look like buttons or click-able items
  • Remove the “search by date” and “retired members” box
  • Change “View by” to “Sort by” (required third-party development)
  • Change “Division” to “Elected area” (required third-party development)
  • Add a header depending on how the Cllrs are sorted (e.g. Councillors by surname) (required third-party development)

Petitions

60% of people managed to find the required information, so there is obviously room for improvement. The difficulties seem to be linking from the main petitions page to the separate system which hold all the petitions.

Feedback

  • Some users found it difficult to actually find the petitions. Information on the page wasn’t clear
  • Users looking for a specific petition, ended up on the service page in the social care section which did not link back to the petition.
  • Users thought the petitions should be on the petitions page. Not another click to actually see them.

Improvements

  • Tidy up the petitions page and make links to the petitions clearer.
  • Potentially add links to each petition from relevant service pages, needs to be discussed further.
  • Investigate ways of combining the actual petitions on to the petitions page. This is tricky as the actual petitions are managed in a separate system, we will look at ways of combining the content onto the main petitions page.
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