Test results for Birmingham City Council

According to our records, this website last had a major update on 2016-08-24 - webteam members can update this information themselves.

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TaskNavigationA-ZGoogleSite searchReadabilityScoreTestsImportance
Address - change mine on council systemsUntestedVery easyVery easyVery easy1043
Adult education courses - find informationUntestedVery easyEasyUntested933
Antisocial behaviour - complain about itUntestedEasyEasyDifficult543
Blue badge - apply for oneUntestedVery easyEasyUntested933
Broken street lights - reportUntestedVery easyVery easyEasy1043
Bulky waste or other special waste collection - bookUntestedVery easyVery easyEasy1043
Complain about something the council has doneUntestedVery easyEasyVery easy1043
Council housing - apply for itUntestedGave upGave upUntested133
Council meeting - read the last full council minutesUntestedGave upGave upUntested135
Council news - find itUntestedEasyEasyEasy943
Council tax - pay itUntestedVery easyVery easyVery easy1045
Council tax / housing benefit - applyUntestedEasyEasyDifficult743
Council tip - find a nearby oneUntestedVery easyVery easyVery easy1043
Councillors - find who mine areUntestedVery easyVery easyEasy1045
Cycling strategy - find itUntestedGave upGave upUntested133
Death - register oneUntestedDifficultDifficultVery easy643
Economic condition and strategy for the area - find itUntestedVery easyVery easyVery easy843
Elections - find out when the next ones areUntestedGave upDifficultDifficult345
Employment help for people with disabilities - find information onUntestedGave upGave upUntested133
Events - find council onesUntestedEasyGave upDifficult443
Flood protection - find informationUntestedGave upGave upVery hard245
Food hygiene problem - report oneUntestedDifficultDifficultDifficult445
Freedom of Information Act request - make oneUntestedDifficultDifficultVery easy645
Housing repair - request oneUntestedVery easyEasyEasy943
Jobs - find a council jobUntestedEasyEasyDifficult745
Leisure centres close to me - find one
Leisure discount card - apply for one
Library book - renew
Local history - find out about
Local library opening hours - find them
Local services and information on a map - look at
Market stall trading - find information about
Meals on Wheels - find information
Missed bin collection - complain about one
Noise nuisance - complain about it
Open Data - find some
Parking - find out how much it costs
Parking fine - pay one
Petitions - create one
Planning application - comment on one
Planning committee meeting - find when the next one is
Planning or building control violation - report one
Planning permission - apply for it
Population and census information - find it
Pothole - report one
Public toilets - find them
Read the council's greenhouse gas emissions report for the previous year
Regulation of children on stage, film, and television - find information
School places - apply for one
School term dates - find them
Scrutiny committee reports and minutes - find them
Senior staff and politicians in the council - find their names
Small business support - find information
Social media accounts - find them
Stopping smoking services - find information
Supplying the council - find out how
Sustainability and climate change - find information on
Taxi driver - complain about one
Taxi licence - apply for one
Telephone number - find the main one
Trading Standards - complain about a dodgy item from a shop
Travellers - find information about them
Tree preservation order - apply for one
Unitary Development Plan / Local Development Plan - find it
Voting - register to
Vulnerable adult - express concern about one
Vulnerable child - express concern about one
Watch a webcast of a recent council or committee meeting
Welfare reform - find information about
Youth clubs in the area - find information
TotalsNavigationA-ZGoogleSite searchReadabilityScoreTests 
Total scores1490168156135608  
Number of tests250252519 94 
Usability Index (total score ÷ number of tests)607676  

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 15 tests, or the site as a whole has had fewer than 50 individually tested items, 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

Adult education courses - find information
Google took me to http://www.learnbaes.ac.uk/; internally, being under Schools and Learning may make some people miss it thinking that section is just for children.

Antisocial behaviour - complain about it
There doesn't appear to be much that you can actually report; what's the point of it? There's no clue of where it could be in the main navigation.

Council housing - apply for it
Started off easy enough, but was taken to a separate website where I had to give up. Internal search results were useless. Navigation was useless - I couldn't find anything referring to council housing in the navigation.

Council meeting - read the last full council minutes
I get to a page called CMIS - Committee Management Information System, which I assume is the place, but from the very, very, very long introductory text on the page it appears you have to register in order to access any minutes. This is outrageous.

Council news - find it
The latest news on https://www.birmingham.gov.uk/news seemed to be from a week ago.

Council tax / housing benefit - apply
The readability of the pages as I went through the process just got harder and harder. There's a lot of confusion around Universal Credit, but to be fair I'd hope that real benefit claimants would be better able to know what it is they're claiming for.

Councillors - find who mine are
I'm sure the wording on the page /councillors could be snappier

Cycling strategy - find it
I found half a page of aspiration, but no actual detail of strategy. They appear to have a separate dedicated cycling website, but I couldn't find anything there either.

Death - register one
The initial information page is easy enough to find, but it tells me I need to make an appointment to do it in person, but it doesn't offer an online appointments system.

Economic condition and strategy for the area - find it
I'd actually go as far as saying this actual section of the site is an excellent example of good practice for other councils to follow! It's a shame though I could only find it by search, I gave up looking for it by navigation.

Elections - find out when the next ones are
I found the date of the next election from an internal search which took me to an election results page, almost as a footnote. I wouldn't expect to find the date of the next election on the page about past elections. Couldn't find any information by navigating.

Employment help for people with disabilities - find information on
I assume this council doesn't offer this service.

Events - find council ones
It's easy to find the events section, but finding events I might be interested in is terrible - there's no categorisation by event type, and most of the events listed are ongoing activities like martial arts classes, rather than individual events on specific dates. The link from the home page could very easily be missed.

Flood protection - find information
I found a page for reporting that the street was flooded but no information about flood protection by search. I did find some information by navigation, but the user journey was very convoluted.

Food hygiene problem - report one
Finding the form via search was really easy. Once I got to the form it was terrible - some address boxes wouldn't accept input, and the nuance of whether I'm reporting a food product complaint or a food business complaint is lost on me. Navigating from the home page I found it from both Business, and Environment, though I'm not sure either of those options would be obvious to most people.

Freedom of Information Act request - make one
Finding the form was easy, but the actual form itself was awful.

Jobs - find a council job
Finding the jobs page is easy, but the display of the full list of jobs is really difficult to scan through.