We’ve been going through our top task planning over the past few weeks, well it’s the in thing isn’t it (and it also makes a lot of sense).
But it’s fallen to me to go through all of the search logs, analytics data etc to determine just what it is that people are actually doing on our site – or, as is often the case, what are they looking for, not finding and then calling our contact centre about! So we’ve been looking at the data from the contact centre too, just so we can see what people are ringing in about when the far easier option is to do it online.
It’s an continual process but I thought I’d share some of it with you.
The above is an infographic to demonstrate just what people were looking at on our site during January 2012 (a tip for anyone, infographics are a much better way to grab someone’s attention – people see this and think ‘wow’, people see the spreadsheets all the information is usually pulled from and think ‘zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz’) So far, so typical for a council website – the jobs section always has been and probably always will be, the most popular section of the site, by an awful long way. (Oh and BDM is Births, Deaths and Marriage)
And now, a graphic showing what people are searching for on the site.
There were over 12,000 search terms used in January, so this is actually just a graphic of all search terms in double figures. Nice to see a lot of people trying to find out how to recycle their Christmas tree, but of course that means it clearly wasn’t obvious from the homepage of the website, which clearly isn’t good.
Aren’t you pleased I didn’t just stick the spreadsheets I’m working through online? Anyway, it is information like this which is influencing our assessment of the site’s top tasks. I say ‘influencing’ as a lot of the data coming out of these assessments is just reinforcing what we already know (or could guess)
But lets refine that even more and take a look at what users were asking for - so basically any search that incorporated a question – ‘how do I…’, ‘can I…’, ‘where do I…’, ‘when does…’ etc
Now that’s more like it. I had to use a standard key so that all queries relating to similar topics would match, but as you can see, it clearly shows me that most people were asking about bin collection days/dates. With requests for replacement bins also being well up there (maybe this was down to some festive shenanigan bin pilfering, who knows).
Not only has it been useful to cross reference these enquiries with calls to the contact centre, it also served to highlight some areas we have previously overlooked.
CWaC has a relatively small housing stock and, as a result, don’t operate a traditional waiting list for council accommodation, but from our research, we can see we still get an awful lot of people looking for ‘housing waiting lists’ So despite the fact we don’t operate it ourselves, it has actually been highlighted as one of our possible top tasks and so we have to make sure that users who come to our site looking for this information are met with useful directions and not just a ‘not us, sorry’ result.
All in all it’s been a very useful process and a real eye opener in terms of what our top tasks should actually be. While we could pretty much ‘guestimate’ the top 5 or 10, some have taken us by surprise.
The top 10 or so will take pride of place on the homepage, but we’ll be monitoring use to see what goes up and what goes down and how seasonal variations impact on things.
But for the launch of marketing’s new design, the top tasks we’ve put in place are:
- Apply for a job
- Find or renew a library book
- View a planning application
- When are my bins collected?
- View or pay a council tax balance
- Find a bus timetable
- Apply for a school place
- Apply for council housing
- Pay or appeal a parking fine
- Park and Ride
There probably isn’t much of a surprise in that list, aside from the ‘apply for council housing’ link. If you look around other sites implementing top tasks then a lot of them will be familiar.
It will be interesting for us to monitor how these tasks change, as well as how it influences people’s use of the site, but we’ll report back here as things develop.
As always we’re happy to hear your thoughts comments, so let us know.