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Should Better Connected continue to test councils’ A-Z function

Fri 04 Aug 2017
Vicky Sargent

This year’s survey found that 107 of the UK’s 416 council websites – just over a quarter - have dropped the A-Z feature on their websites.

It is slowly but steadily growing trend. Last year we found 80 sites (19%) without one, 12% in 2015 and 7% in 2014.

But a quick check of council websites that have recently been re-designed shows that around two thirds of those relaunched* between January and June this year continue to provide an A-Z.

Arguments for retaining the A-Z are that with more than 750 services to promote, council sites’ search and navigation routes will inevitably fail customers from time to time, so another route to content is needed.

Arguments against are that navigation and search should be tested and refined until they are good enough (what is a tolerable ‘avoidable contact’ rate, anyone?), that the A-Z is another thing that requires resources to be maintained, and that very few customers use it anyway. In addition, some sites drop the feature when the site is accessed from mobile, as they increasingly are.

On the second of these points, Better Connected testing shows that of those councils that do offer an A-Z, more than 80% pass our test. On the third, usage, and fourth, dropping for mobile, we’d love you to share your data with us………

Just in case anyone that isn’t aware, we don’t penalize sites with no A-Z, as task and overall scores are adjusted for sites without them.

All the above is food for further thought about the question ‘should Better Connected still test the A-Z’? If we dropped it, we could use the saved resource for something that is arguably more important. 

Please let us know what you think, here, or via our other channels.

 

*We show data about when sites have been most recently redesigned on the landing page of all 416 council websites featured on this website. Data is provided by the Jumoo Page Speedy service.

 

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