Local authorities will need to ensure websites are mobile-friendly, according to study
Around a quarter of visits to council websites now come from mobile devices, according to research from public sector IT managers association Socitm.
Socitm’s website take-up service provided data for the research and points to the need for authorities to ensure their websites and services are available to users of mobile devices. The association’s service is used by over 100 local authorities to monitor usage and satisfaction of council websites.
The service, which has been running since 2004, collects up to 25,000 surveys a month from council website users, and since January, 2013, has run a version of the survey for mobile users (including those using the Apple iPad and other tablets). The survey detects the use of a mobile device and offers the user a cut-down version of the main website take-up service survey. The questions ask respondents about their main reasons for visiting the site, and whether they were able to achieve what they set out to do on the site.
Data for the first three months of the year suggests that the percentage of visits to council websites from mobile devices is 23 percent. In total, a monthly average of just under 2,000 responses (nine percent of all website take-up survey responses) came from mobile devices. The data shows that reasons for visiting websites differ for users on the move, with schools/youth (16 percent), rubbish & recycling (15 percent), and leisure (10 percent) the most popular services to use from mobiles.
Planning and Council Tax are less popular services to access from mobiles, while housing and libraries feature higher in mobile rankings than they do in desktop rankings.
“These results make clear the high level of demand for access to council websites from mobiles,” said Martin Greenwood of Socitm Insight. “They provide new information about the sort of information users expect to be able to access when on the move.”
The news provides an opportunity for the channel to help authorities make services more mobile friendly. “Councils need to analyse this information carefully in order improve development of their websites for mobile access,” said Greenwood.