Test results for Manchester City Council

According to our records, this website hasn't had a major update since it was first registered with us - webteam members can update this information themselves.

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TaskNavigationA-ZGoogleSite searchReadabilityScoreTestsImportance
Address - change mine on council systemsUntestedVery easyVery easyUntested1035
Adult education courses - find informationUntestedVery easyVery easyUntested1035
Antisocial behaviour - complain about it
Blue badge - apply for one
Broken street lights - reportUntestedVery easyVery easyVery easy993
Bulky waste or other special waste collection - book
Complain about something the council has doneUntestedEasyEasyUntested733
Council housing - apply for itUntestedGave upGave upUntested233
Council meeting - read the last full council minutesUntestedEasyDifficultVery easy774
Council news - find itUntestedVery easyVery easyUntested833
Council tax - pay itUntestedDifficultGave upUntested535
Council tax / housing benefit - applyUntestedDifficultDifficultUntested533
Council tip - find a nearby oneUntestedVery easyVery easyUntested1035
Councillors - find who mine areUntestedEasyEasyUntested835
Cycling strategy - find itUntestedVery easyVery easyVery easy773
Death - register oneUntestedVery easyEasyVery easy1043
Economic condition and strategy for the area - find itUntestedVery easyVery easyUntested733
Elections - find out when the next ones areUntestedVery easyVery easyUntested1033
Employment help for people with disabilities - find information onUntestedGave upGave upUntested133
Events - find council onesUntestedEasyEasyUntested733
Flood protection - find information
Food hygiene problem - report one
Freedom of Information Act request - make oneUntestedVery easyDifficultVery easy943
Housing repair - request one
Jobs - find a council jobUntestedDifficultDifficultVery easy793
Leisure centres close to me - find oneUntestedEasyEasyUntested935
Leisure discount card - apply for oneUntestedVery easyGave upVery easy643
Library book - renew
Local history - find out aboutUntestedDifficultDifficultEasy443
Local library opening hours - find them
Local services and information on a map - look at
Market stall trading - find information aboutUntestedVery easyVery easyUntested1033
Meals on Wheels - find informationUntestedGave upGave upVery hard143
Missed bin collection - complain about oneUntestedGave upGave upUntested133
Noise nuisance - complain about itUntestedVery easyGave upVery easy843
Open Data - find some
Parking - find out how much it costsUntestedEasyEasyUntested933
Parking fine - pay oneUntestedGave upGave upUntested433
Petitions - create oneUntestedVery easyVery easyVery easy845
Planning application - comment on oneUntestedVery easyVery easyVery easy1073
Planning committee meeting - find when the next one is
Planning or building control violation - report oneUntestedVery easyGave upDifficult443
Planning permission - apply for itUntestedVery easyVery easyVery easy1043
Population and census information - find itUntestedVery easyVery easyUntested853
Pothole - report oneUntestedDifficultDifficultUntested764
Public toilets - find themUntestedGave upGave upDifficult245
Read the council's greenhouse gas emissions report for the previous yearUntestedVery easyVery easyVery easy840
Regulation of children on stage, film, and television - find informationUntestedVery easyGave upEasy543
School places - apply for oneUntestedVery easyVery easyUntested1033
School term dates - find themUntestedVery easyVery easyUntested1053
Scrutiny committee reports and minutes - find themUntestedVery easyVery easyUntested1033
Senior staff and politicians in the council - find their namesGave upDifficultGave upUntested245
Small business support - find informationUntestedDifficultDifficultUntested633
Social media accounts - find them
Stopping smoking services - find information
Supplying the council - find out howUntestedVery easyEasyUntested933
Sustainability and climate change - find information onVery easyVery easyVery easyVery easy883
Taxi driver - complain about oneUntestedEasyEasyUntested933
Taxi licence - apply for oneUntestedVery easyVery easyUntested1033
Telephone number - find the main oneUntestedGave upGave upUntested335
Trading Standards - complain about a dodgy item from a shopUntestedEasyVery easyVery easy843
Travellers - find information about them
Tree preservation order - apply for oneUntestedGave upGave upUntested133
Unitary Development Plan / Local Development Plan - find itUntestedVery easyVery easyUntested733
Voting - register toUntestedEasyEasyUntested935
Vulnerable adult - express concern about oneUntestedVery easyEasyVery easy9123
Vulnerable child - express concern about oneUntestedEasyEasyUntested833
Watch a webcast of a recent council or committee meeting
Welfare reform - find information aboutUntestedDifficultDifficultUntested633
Youth clubs in the area - find information
TotalsNavigationA-ZGoogleSite searchReadabilityScoreTests 
Total scores344114013451751276  
Number of tests672636722 221 
Usability Index (total score ÷ number of tests)566586  

About the scores

Each task can be tested according to five different criteria - navigation from the home page, navigation using the A-Z directory (where present), searching on Google, searching using the site's internal search, and the readability of the page. Scores are assigned according to 10 = Very easy, 8 = Easy, 4 = Difficult, and 1 = Gave up. As more users complete any given test, the score for each aspect of each task becomes a mean average of all the individual testers scores, and thus the more tests are completed the more reliable an indication of the usability of the website can be seen. The total scores in the table are thus the sum of the averaged scores for the whole suite of tasks which have been tested.

The Usability Index is the sum of the scores of all the tests which have been carried out, divided by the number of tests which have been taken for this council, resulting in an index score between 1 and 10, with 6 being the score which a nominallly usable website with room for improvement might be expected to achieve. If any criteria have had fewer than 20 tests, or the site as a whole has had fewer than 100 tests, the final Index scores are shown in a grey background to indicate insufficient testing for the result to be a reliable indicator.

The Importance column shows the mean average of how important all the testers considered the ability to complete this task to be, ranging from 0 = Unimportant to 5 = Very important.

Specific comments made about this council

Broken street lights - report
Easy

Complain about something the council has done
Way down at the bottom of the page, then difficult to find the right form; search for 'complaints' ok, search for 'complain' not so good.

Council housing - apply for it
Top level 'homes and property' rather than usual 'housing'; had to look hard to find it due to random arrangement.

Council meeting - read the last full council minutes
Was easy to get to the main meetings page from the home page, but the navigation from there became difficult as the page became a list of meetings over a year in advance, having to scroll down to get to 'the last' meeting which didn't have any minutes, and the list below that was incomplete.

Council meeting - read the last full council minutes
This would be slightly better if it highlighted the last meeting more obviously. Main navigation is brilliant and easy. Internal search less so, it takes you to the video of the last meeting very well but there is no breadcrumb to try and easily view a different meeting's video/papers.

Council news - find it
Right at the bottom of a very long home page.

Council tax - pay it
Google search took me to an expired session page.

Council tax / housing benefit - apply
Page headed benefit claim calculator rather than application, could be offputting; search results on 'apply for x benefit' more focussed on information than application.

Councillors - find who mine are
The show/hide link for the list of wards on the left was a bit stupid.

Cycling strategy - find it
Navigation has information on cycling, but not cycle strategy.

Cycling strategy - find it
Cycling pages generally very easy to find, but they don't contain the cycling strategy. Internal and external search find it easily though.

Death - register one
The confusing way featured search results on internal search are presented stopped that from being Very easy.

Employment help for people with disabilities - find information on
Could be a service manchester doesn't provide.

Events - find council ones
Right at the bottom of a very long home page.

Freedom of Information Act request - make one
Internal search wasn't so good - 'freedom of information request' gave me a useful result which was some way down the list, whilst 'foi request' gave me a screenful of .pdfs.

Jobs - find a council job
General note - overall, the random ordering of what serves for menu entries makes finding anything much harder than it needs to be; search engine results page makes 'featured' results near-invisible.

Jobs - find a council job
Not obvious navigation, but search is easy

Leisure discount card - apply for one
Could only find it from the Google search.

Local history - find out about
Internal search produced various pages about the history of various buildings in Manchester (and the inevitable top search result for the archives and local history section of the library which was to a page which said the section is closed), but no section of the site holding the local history of Manchester together. Google search returned a different set of pages, mostly for the local image collection.

Meals on Wheels - find information
Searches took me to a site called mymanchesterservices, which was so opaque and dense I gave up.

Missed bin collection - complain about one
Couldn't report online without setting up an account.

Noise nuisance - complain about it
Internal search was to a screenful of .pdf documents which may or may not have been relevant.

Parking fine - pay one
Search result went to appeal page, not payment page.

Petitions - create one
Excellent seamless integration between the online petitions system and the CMS site. Seems odd that I was unable to find it via navigation, though.

Planning application - comment on one
Very easy and readable

Planning or building control violation - report one
Seems odd how easy it was to find via Google but impossible by other means.

Pothole - report one
Getting the login / register prompt at the start could get irritating after a while; going via search wouldn't allow me to do it *without* logging in first.

Public toilets - find them
To be fair, beyond trying to look on the map facility I wouldn't have the faintest idea how to find these using any navigation structure. Internal search took me to a page which said it would give the information, but didn't!

Read the council's greenhouse gas emissions report for the previous year
Apparently the council has a legal obligation to publish this.

Regulation of children on stage, film, and television - find information
Could find nothing at all via navigation and internal search was a load of .pdf documents that looked like minutes of meetings. The Google search gave the correct page as the top result, but the wording on the page was potentially confusing - 'A licence is required for a child from birth until the end of compulsory education who performs in the entertainment industry' would be better worded as 'A licence is required for a child from the start of their career [...]' or something similar - the current wording implies that you need to get a licence on the day they're born even if they don't start performing until the age of 9!

School term dates - find them
I found the actual presentation of the information confusing, but that may be subjective.

Senior staff and politicians in the council - find their names
No direct information on website, though the name can be assumed from minutes of meetings. Google quickly linked to a Wikipedia entry.

Small business support - find information
More lists in a random order rather than alphabetical order.

Sustainability and climate change - find information on
Annoying that I needed to download an Adobe report rather than just read the information on the website.

Telephone number - find the main one
Maybe not quite as difficult as 'difficult' but harder than 'easy' - link was where it would be expected to be, but labelling on the page is confusing.

Trading Standards - complain about a dodgy item from a shop
I knew to navigate via Business and investment anyway, but arriving on the Business and investment main page made it look very much like a section for businesses rather than for consumers; clicking further through the navigation did seem to involve more clicks than it should have done. Google search was potentially compromised by the potential confusion with the tradingstandards.gov.uk site appearing at the top.

Tree preservation order - apply for one
Internal search gave me a screen full of .pdf files. Google found me a page about TPOs (for some reason apparently located under Sport, leisure, and culture), but it was information about what work can be done on preserved trees, not about how somebody might apply for a tree to be protected.

Voting - register to
Different form from search to navigation.

Vulnerable adult - express concern about one
Very easy to find and clear to understand.

Vulnerable adult - express concern about one
On navigation I almost missed the relevant link from the home page due to the random order the links were presented in. Alphabetical order, please! Internal search result was a screenful of .pdfs.

Vulnerable adult - express concern about one
Very easy to find the information and the first thing that stands out is: "If a person is in immediate danger, dial 999 and ask for the police." Good advice to remind visitors of what is urgent. The next step stated "To report suspected abuse or neglect, contact us" before a tel no. and email address is given. Nice clear and to the point!

Welfare reform - find information about
Completely different information between navigation and search.