Our recent homepage navigation survey produced some interesting results. In all, 281 people took part, with 201 participants completing all of the tasks. Whilst we are analysing these in our team, we thought it might be interesting to share what we learnt about our proposed navigation with you.
We will take a look at the overall results, as well as the breakdown of results and what we have learnt from running the survey. It’s quite a long read, with lots of diagrams, so it might be worth getting that cup of tea first!
Taking a look at the overall results provides some positive indications that our suggested navigation is on the right track.
The success rating shows that 89% of tasks completed by participants ended up at the correct answer. The directness rating shows that for those tasks completed, 78% found the correct answer without having to backtrack.
This is good news for us as much of the proposed navigation seems to work. We can confirm this, and check where there are issues or changes needed, by looking at the task results in more detail.
1. Council tax
Our first task, about setting up a direct debit, was very successful, and participants found it easy to find with a 96% success rate and the information being found in under 12 seconds. Comments on the survey back this up:
“Seemed very simple and user friendly. I was surprised how quickly I located things.”
The ease of finding this information is highlighted when we look at where participants navigated to from ‘Home’. As we see below, other than some outliers, most participants went straight to the right page.
Our second task, about registering the birth of a child, proved more challenging for customers and had the lowest success rate for a task within the survey. We can see from our analytics that whilst customers managed to complete the task 70% of the time, they often did not directly find the answer.
To explore where customers went instead, we can take a look at the routes they took.
From the chart above, we can see that many customers looked within children and family services for this information. This was backed up by participant comments.
“I would have registered births under children’s service and social care, but I didn’t get this option.”
“Birth registration should be under children and families not ‘other services’. I had to go there as a last resort rather than actually wanting to find it there.”
In order to account for this within our navigation, we should make sure that we link to this information from within the Children and Families section, as well as with the Births, marriages and deaths section.
Our housing benefit task had a 97% success rate. The directness rating was a little lower than council tax at 90% but still indicates that the content was easy to find.
Looking at the navigation routes taken for this suggests that most customers are not actually taking the direct route via ‘Benefits’ but rather are navigating through ‘Housing’. This indicates that putting it within the main housing section was a good assumption, whilst also accounting for those looking for ‘Benefits’ first.
Our tree task scored a little lower than most of our tasks, with a success rate of 82%. However, only 73% of participants got there directly, suggesting that they were looking for it in a number of places.
As the diagram below shows, whilst the majority of participants made it to the trees section, there was a lot of variety in how they got there. Looking at the analytics, 153 participants made it to ‘Trees’ via ‘Environmental issues’ and only 13 made it via ‘Parks and countryside’. So whilst trees have traditionally sat within the parks section, the results suggest that customers will not look for it here. Further, 96 participants went to ‘Planning and building control’ for tree information, suggesting that tree information needs to be signposted here as well.
Finding out who your local Councillor is, is an important task for local democracy. Our survey results show that participants were, with the exception of a few outliers, able to successfully find this information.
The diagram below shows that most customers went to ‘The council and democracy’ to find this information, whilst our signpost back to this from elections helped those that did not.
With regards to this question, we received several comments regarding the use of the term ‘The council and democracy’. We are now investigating other options for what we call this section, including ‘About the council’. It is likely that we will do more testing on this to find out what works best for our customers.
The task relating to fostering was one that participants found straightforward.
The diagram below highlights that the majority of participants (196) found fostering information under ‘Children and family services’. Most of the remaining participants found it through ‘Health and social care’ where fostering information is referenced for those looking for it there.
We were interested in looking at graffiti as a task because of where it sits under the heading ‘Environmental issues.’ As a team we had debated the use of this term and we wanted to test it out. The success rate was 94% which is great, but there were some issues with directness. 75% of participants got to the task directly which means that 25% of participants didn’t manage to find it straight away.
This was backed up with feedback on the survey. For example one participant commented:
“I found the … task particularly difficult – ‘Environmental’ is a broad term and it took me quite some time to discover the Graffiti branch.”
So, where did participants look for this task? As we can see from the diagram below, they looked in a range of places. The most notable was that they checked under ‘More services’ for this task, although ‘Housing’ was also popular. This may be because we referenced the task to graffiti outside a house. This suggests that we will need to investigate how we link key tasks around the website, rather than feature them exclusively in one area.
When discussing the initial navigation to test, we struggled with where to put licensing information, so it was interesting to see where customers looked for this. This test, whilst having an 86% success rate, shows that having licensing information under ‘Business information’ was not where participants were looking for it. We can see this because only 54% of participants went directly to the task.
In order to work out where else we might locate licensing information, we can look at where customers went before they made it to ‘Business information.’
65 participants went to ‘Planning and building control,’ whilst 62 went to ‘More services.’ This suggests that, at the very least, we need to reference licensing within ‘Planning and building control,’ and perhaps even consider having licensing as its own section. Again, this is something that we will need to carry out further user testing on.
Having carried out this survey on our main navigation, we will now take the results and look at how we can improve how the navigation works. For example, we will make sure that the licensing section is easier to find and that births information is linked from children and family services, among other changes.
Thank you once again to everyone who took part in the survey.