NCC website is awarded 3 stars in Socitm Better Connected Survey

09 June 2017
Socitm Better Connected

​The Socitm Better Connected Survey is a national benchmarking exercise for council websites.

Better Connected - sharing the best in local digital servicesThe survey has just been published, with NCC being awarded three out of four stars overall and passing both the mobile standard and accessibility standard.

Task-focus

The survey looked at the following tasks and the NCC site achieved the top score for two of the tasks:

  • Sign up for e-resources (Libraries) – 3 star
  • Request social care assessment for older person (Adult Social Care) – 4 star
  • Find local care support for an older person (Adult Social Care) – 3 star
  • Find out about roadworks (Highways) – 4 star

Overall usability

The survey also looked at tools for accessing content (search, navigation and A-Z). We scored well on most of these, with the search and A-Z in particular being praised by the reviewer:

 

The search is accurate and the results are well presented. The links are well explained and often links straight to the specific content I am looking for.

The A-Z is a well put together list of terms which takes me to the exact page I need, very quickly.


Mobile standard

We passed the mobile standard with 3 marks out of 4 with all tasks tested working well on a mobile phone. This validates the improvements made using our new platform which presents a mobile-responsive site, ie it automatically resizes to fit whichever device you are using to view the site, and the work done on our online forms to make many of these mobile-responsive too.

Accessibility

The benchmarking exercise included a two-staged accessibility test, with only those councils who passed the first stage being allowed through to the second stage. NCC received a mark of 2 out of 3 for accessibility, demonstrating the accessibility improvements that our new platform has allowed, as well as the commitment to accessibility by our web authors and web team.

What were we particularly praised for?

We received 4 stars for the following two tasks. The different elements tested give a good indication of how tasks can work well on the website for services.

Find out about roadworks

This service uses a third party service which we have linked into the NCC highways site.

The reviewer found that the NCC site does the following well for this task:

Google search leads directly to the task

​✔

​Landing page from Google is optimised for mobile

​✔
​Service homepage is optimised for mobile​✔
​Facility to find current roadworks in the area displayed on a map​✔
​Facility to see information about alternative routes or diversions on map application or list ​✔
​Map is easy to use on a smartphone ​✔
​Facility to sign up for email alerts about upcoming roadworks ​✔
​Reviewer was able to complete the task without errors ​✔
​NCC homepage links directly to the task ​✔
​Service landing page links directly to the task ​✔
​A search for the task description returns the correct result listed in the first five results​✔
​A search for the task description returns the correct result listed in the first five results ​✔
​All the above routes lead to a consistent destination ​✔
​Content reviewed was free of any out of date information ​✔
​Content reviewed was concise and free of jargon ​✔

Room for improvement:

  • Unable to find current roadworks displayed as a list
  • Unable to find out who to contact in connection with a roadworks issue

The reviewer’s overall comment for this task:

 

Good signposting, and a very good introduction to the roadworks.org site. It explains that you need to zoom in to view any roadworks and that the map shows roadworks in other counties too and it also links to the user guide and a raft of other information on projects and work programmes.


Request social care assessment for older person

This is a complex task with constantly-changing information, and the web author is committed to keeping the information up-to-date and customer-focused.

The reviewer found that the NCC site does the following well for this task:

​Google search leads directly to the task
​It is made clear that the council will always do a needs assessment before arranging any care ​✔
​It is made clear from information explicit on web page (ie not just pdfs) that care packages may need to be fully/partly paid for by the recipient ​✔
​It is made clear that the council will assess financial eligibility before contributing to care costs ​✔
​There is a clear statement about savings and income levels that will entitle someone to financial support for care for the council ​✔
​There is clear information about arranging an advocate ​✔
​Sources of information and advice for those not eligible/not interested in council support are clearly signposted ​✔
​It is possible to request a care assessment for an older person online ​✔
​The homepage links directly to the task ​✔
​The service landing page links directly to the task ​✔
​The A-Z list includes this task ​✔
​All the above routes lead to a consistent destination ​✔
​The content reviewed was free of any out of date information ​✔
​The content reviewed was concise and free of jargon ​✔

Room for improvement:

  • There is no self-assessment tool for care needs available on the site
  • There is no calculator to help site users determine eligibility for council funding for care
  • Information about reporting a safeguarding concern (someone at risk) was not deemed clear
  • It was not deemed clear that carers are entitled to a free needs assessment from the council
  • It is made clear that carers are entitled to a free needs assessment from the council

Some of the reviewer’s comments:

 

It was very easy to find the information I was looking for about assessments. Signposting was strong and I would have felt confident to complete the online self referral. Clear explanations were given about the process of needs assessments and financial assessments.

Very easy to complete the survey on this site. Info easy to find and good signposting.


What next?

The Socitm Better Connected Survey is a well-respected measure of the usability and accessibility of council websites, and we are hopeful that as we continue making improvements and testing the services on the NCC site, we will eventually be awarded 4 stars overall – next year??

However, Socitm themselves say that our site’s focus should be on our own top tasks based on data such as web analytics and call centre statistics. The web team work very closely with the Customer Service Centre to ensure that the website enhances our key services, as well as working with Communications and Marketing to promote important council outcomes such as health and wellbeing and fostering, which may not always match up to the top tasks in the survey.Socitm - delivering digital leadership


Back to

News home

Most popular