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Waverley Borough Council Committee System - Committee Document

Meeting of the Executive held on 10/07/2007
Summary of Website Survey



Annexe 1

WEBSITE CONTENT MANAGEMENT SYSTEM AND WEBSITE MANAGER –

SUMMARY OF WEBSITE SURVEY


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The following surveys have been undertaken in the past twelve months to assess the current state of Waverley’s website.

Evaluation of Waverley Borough Council’s Website (Residents Survey)

In November 2006 IRN Research undertook a residents survey of the use of the Internet and the Council’s website. Over 1,000 responses were received to the 25,000 questionnaires that were distributed to half of the Borough’s residents. The main findings were as follows:

Waverley residents access and use the Internet more frequently than the UK average (74% had accessed the Internet within the previous three months compared to the national average of 60%);

91% of Internet users in Waverley had accessed the internet from home in the previous three months compared with the national average of 85%;

71% of residents had contacted the Council in the last year. E-mails and online forms were the second most popular method of contact (27%) after the telephone (40%).

34% on Waverley’s residents had used the Council’s website within the previous year;

Of those residents that used the council’s website in the previous year 85% found it easy or very easy to use but only 58% found the information on the website to be useful.

230 of the 1,000 respondents included free form comments in their responses. Of those directly concerned with the website 80% criticised the current website or made suggestions as to how it might be improved. These included:

The homepage and general layout of the website is unclear and confusing;

The navigation around the website needs to be easier;

The search facility needs to be improved;

Not always easy to understand – “written in council language”;

Information not always up to date; and

Failure to acknowledge e-mails.

A third of residents with Internet access who contacted the Council in the last year did not think to look on Waverley’s website and a further 16% did not know that Waverley had a website.

Website – Staff Survey

The website is an increasingly important channel for the dissemination of information and the delivery of Waverley’s services. Officers views on the website are therefore important if it is to be made full and effective use of.

All members of Waverley’s staff were invited to answer a questionnaire concerning the Council’s website. Ninety eight staff responded. The results of the survey are summarised below:

A very high proportion of respondents (95%) are aware that there is information about their service(s) on the site and 70% use the web site at least once a week. 70% of staff use the web site to obtain information for themselves about their own or other services and an even higher proportion, 75%, refer customers to the site.

Staff were not particularly enthusiastic about the “look and feel” of the web site. Very few said it was either very attractive or very easy (12 and 13% respectively). The majority opted for quite attractive or easy (45 and 60%) and a significant proportion found it unattractive (33%). Specific “look and feel” issues included:

The web site needs to be less cluttered – “less wordy”, more colour/graphics;

The home page is far too busy;

The “search” facility is very poor;

Navigation and menus not particularly helpful;

Need to avoid jargon and use Plain English; and

Greater use needs to be made of “Frequently Asked Questions” (FAQs).

There was considerable enthusiasm for a website Content Management System (WCMS) amongst staff with “yes’s” outnumbering “no’s” in the ratio 10:1 in answer to the questions “would a CMS improve the situation?”, “would you be prepared to learn how to use a CMS?” and “would you be prepared to learn how to write for the web?”. Staff felt that the introduction of a WCMS would:

Increased likelihood of content being up to date because of ease of creation and amendment of content;

Much greater sense of ownership of the website amongst officers and awareness of its potential for communication and service delivery;

Uniform look and feel of the website and improved quality control;