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Two thirds of councils pass stage one accessibility to qualify for full Better Connected test

Vicky Sargent
Fri 06 Jan 2017

Two thirds of the UK’s 416 council websites have passed the first stage of the Better Connected test for accessibility to people with disabilities, becoming eligible for the full test in February. Results come from a new, two-stage process introduced by Socitm’s Better Connected programme for testing and reporting the accessibility of council websites. Tests check for the degree of access available to mobility impaired, low vision, colour blind and dyslexic users, including those accessing sites by keyboard only or using other assistive technologies.

First results and reports from Better Connected 2016-17 due this month!

Vicky Sargent
Thu 01 Dec 2016

Later this month every UK council will see results published from at least one of the four service based surveys that will be undertaken as part of their assessment in this Better Connected cycle. For most councils the results will be on ‘apply for building control’, but for metropolitan districts it will be ‘apply for housing’ and county councils, ‘access e-books and resources from libraries’.

Changes to accessibility testing for 2016-17

Vicky Sargent
Mon 14 Nov 2016

For the last four years, the accessibility testing for Better Connected has been carried out by Digital Accessibility Centre. DAC’s team of testers includes people with a range of disabilities, most of whom are using some form of assistive technology. This manual testing is essential to get a true measure of accessibility - something automated-only testing cannot deliver.

Tasks to be tested in Better Connected 2016-17 by council type

Vicky Sargent
Sun 30 Oct 2016

In the previous post on tasks to be tested in 2016-17, these were listed by task, not council type, which is of course how most readers from web teams will want to see the information displayed. Also, the first version of the previous post showed five tasks for EUs and one task that was incorrect for MD tasks. This was corrected in the amended post.

Better Connected tasks for 2016-17 (amended 26 October)

Vicky Sargent
Thu 13 Oct 2016

Read on for the list of Better Connected tasks to be tested in 2016-17, listed by different service categories and with details of which local authority types will be tested for each task. Where (m) appears beside a task, it denotes that that task will be assessed from a mobile phone.

Better Connected 2016-17: how we approach and score some key aspects of surveys

Vicky Sargent
Thu 06 Oct 2016

In an earlier post I mentioned that we would be publishing some guidance on how Better Connected reviewers approach and score aspects of our surveys. Here we cover 'findability from Google'; specification of site search and A-Z terms and phrases; navigating to tasks and the requirement to log in to complete tasks.

Better Connected changes for 2016-17: paid for reviews

Vicky Sargent
Mon 03 Oct 2016

In my last post I mentioned that Better Connected would be introducing paid for reviews. These will enable councils that have made improvements to their website since Better Connected overall results were published, to get this recognised in the scores published on this site.

Better Connected changes for 2016-17: overview and scoring details

Vicky Sargent
Sun 02 Oct 2016

Better Connected reviewers met on 20 September to review last year's survey round and plan for 2016-17. In 2015-16 we introduced many changes. Most important was that we moved to publishing results and reports online. We also made much more information about the BC results public for all councils and started running and reporting surveys over a period of months, rather than just having the one big reveal on 1 March.

Better Connected survey programme 2016-17

Vicky Sargent
Mon 05 Sep 2016

A number of people have been enquiring about the subjects and timing of Better Connected surveys for 2016-17. No details will be published until after the Better Connected reviewers’ meeting on 20th September, so look out for announcements from the end of September/early October.

Navigation, layout, ‘top tasks’ and related topics

Vicky Sargent with BC review team members
Tue 19 Jul 2016

Back in 2012, Better Connected adopted an approach based on ‘top tasks’ for its surveys, explaining that ‘it is important to assess the ability of visitors to get quickly to their chosen task’ – noting that the (newly launched) Government Digital Service supported the same concept. We went as far as to say, in that year’s report, that we wanted to encourage all councils to design their website around the concept of top tasks.

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