- Jobs - find a council job at Birmingham City Council on 2017-01-12 and it was difficult.
- Housing repair - request one at Birmingham City Council on 2017-01-12 and it was easy.
- Freedom of Information Act request - make one at Birmingham City Council on 2017-01-12 and it was difficult.
- Food hygiene problem - report one at Birmingham City Council on 2017-01-12 and it was difficult.
- Flood protection - find information at Birmingham City Council on 2017-01-12 and it was very difficult.
Welcome to the council website usability dashboard!
Traditional user testing of council websites is done in one of two ways - (1) commission a usability consultant to run a study either with a panel of experts or a panel of ordinary people selected from a pool of volunteers, or (2) wait for the annual Socitm Better Connected report on all councils. Whilst these approaches have their stengths, they also have their drawbacks - principal amongst these being a sample testing of just 10 common tasks from the range of hundreds of services a council website offers does not provide a representative picture of how usable the council website actually is for the broad spectrum of users needing information beyond the major services of bins, potholes, libraries, and housing repairs, and the inherent flaw of testing often being done by just one single person.
The purpose of this site is to provide an alternative methodology for determining the usability of different council websites in England, Scotland, and Wales - by letting users carry out a series of tests from a wider pool of 70 possible tests covering a much broader spectrum of council website services, and by using a crowdsourced approach to testing the theory is that biases introduced by single testers will be averaged out amongst many testers. This does not replace other methods of user testing referred to above - rather, it complements them.
If your council isn't listed here, please do contact us to let us know and we'll add it for you.
Currently the system has 594 users who between them have run 2170 tests against 70 tasks.
You can also read an introduction to this service on the Guardian Public Leaders Network, and also read about a formal academic study of the methodology of the site published by the Oxford Internet Institute.