Govt web teams often neglect usability

By Dylan Bushell-Embling
Tuesday, 14 February, 2017

Govt web teams often neglect usability

Australian government agencies’ online content creation teams often overlook usability in the rush to publish new content, according to the Digital Transformation Agency (DTA).

The agency has conducted research seeking to determine why 50% of users of government services experience difficulty finding information online, with 24% resorting to making a phone call.

The research identified a constant tension between the urgency of new content being made live and the usability of the content being published. The constant changes often required to be made at speed precludes usability from being a focus.

But the agency found that alternative publishing patterns could help address the issue. It finds that agencies could, for example, take a journalistic approach to publishing content, whereby a team member creates the content by directly consulting with different stakeholders.

The DTA’s research also found that analytics tools have not yet been widely adopted across government. Where they are used, they are often limited to measuring page hits and bounce hits, with senior officials not widely understanding the benefits of business intelligence gained from analysing how content is performing.

“This is a shift to a more agile, proactive stance, and it recognises content as a component of a dynamic experience that must be continuously cared for, curated and pruned to stay healthy,” DTA Content Community Lead Libby Varcoe and ThinkPlace Partner Darren Menachemson said in a joint blog post announcing the findings.

In addition, the research uncovered that there needs to be a greater focus on archiving and maintenance, as well as on understanding the purpose of content at the beginning of the content’s life cycle.

Image courtesy of David Cintron under CC

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