How our website user survey works

I mentioned in a previous post that we were planning to install a user survey on the NAO website. As the survey has been live for few days it is worth saying how it works

We are using SurveyMonkey which is activated for 1 in 20 visitors. We will review the frequency of this depending on the response rate and any user feedback. Current completion rate would mean that there would be about 2,500 responses in a year which should create a nice sample size.

The idea is to have the survey run permanently as it will allow monthly analysis. Also it gets round the old problem of saying lets run a survey in x month and then spending weeks getting it up and running.

We have tried to focus on questions which will provide a consistent benchmark of feedback over time but also helps us check that we are providing the right kind of services.

So we have started off by asking what category of user people are to understand the profile of visitors and why they came to the site.

SM users

 

SM info

 

SM find

 

We also wanted to check if we are providing the right type of content formats.

SM content

 

Finally what is the level of satisfaction.

SM satis

 

So we hope that without overburdening our users we have a realistic feel for what they need, in what format and if they are happy or not.

Job done.

Has the government digital comms community sold out, or just become more mature?

There was as time when those working in digital comms in government liked to think of themselves as pioneers, do gooders, renegades, jeans wearing, pizza eating innovators; disruptors with a start up mentality.

Is this still the case? Here are some reflections…

What is the evidence?

Govcamp the annual get together was initially a very low key event and the first couple held at the Ministry of Justice had a very last minute, free flowing atmosphere. Contrast that with this year when it was held in the shiny headquarters of the Greater London Authority with all the paraphernalia that this entailed. Queues for security checks, lots of corporate sponsors and a large organising team. (I was one of them). There was an article in a IT journal which said the event had ‘come of age’ – it was meant as a compliment.

Teacamp another freewheeling event has to some extent become more regular and organised by someone from the Government Digital Service – who, by the way, does a great job.

Government Twitter accounts are becoming more ‘regulated’. There are more messages circulating across government asking for x or y message to be retweeted. One in particular used the same wording that I spotted later in the evening on the news ticker on TV. I noticed a department talking about one of their campaigns and calling it ‘exciting’. I even saw that GDS (the Government Digital Service) getting in on the act and retweeted an NHS Choices message. How long before there is only one government Twitter account? After all who cares about Departments – surely it is the topic or campaign?

The Government Digital Service (GDS) clearly had a start up mentality. When I went to visit the first time the team were seated in the corner of a small room and I recognised many of them from earlier hack events. Now GDS has several hundred staff and a number of the original ‘pioneers’ have now moved on. There are a number of aspects where GDS is now mirroring some of the functions carried out by the old COI (Central Office of Information) such as the recent guidance on domain name registration. Dare one say that it has ‘gone corporate’?

What else?

Well there is another aspect to this as with the gov.uk site taking over all government publishing everything is starting to look very similar in a standard format. Topics are being coordinated across government and clear messages are being given out. This also relates to the renamed Government Communications Service (GCS) which is starting to regulate and standardise training and steer more things centrally.

So we have Govcamp; the Government Digital Service; the Government Communications Service.

What next?

Has everything over time just become more mature and organised or is innovation being squeezed out? Will staff become interchangeable commodities as GCS starts to build on the idea of a pool of staff (as the old GICS did). Will the innovators or renegades move out to the private sector? There was a time when social media in government had an aspect of being a ‘force for good’ – has it now become a force for corporate messages…?

Have hack events also been tamed with them being a standard ‘to do’ on a tick list for which one chooses the usual candidates to organise them? Will the next step be a Government Hack Service?

Will government digital become unrecognisable from the private sector with staff moving freely between the two working on Government Campaigns? Will there be a logical progression to outsource some campaigns to benchmark what government does?

Overall is this good or bad?

What do you think?

 

 

 

 

Do you really want user feedback? Part 3

In this series of posts about feedback so far I have been talking about some external digital services.

What about internal services? Surely you want some feedback on those as well?

What kind of internal digital services could be relevant?

Well intranets jump to mind. So does your intranet allow colleagues to leave feedback on every page: or perhaps to allow reporting of broken links or factual inaccuracies. Even a simple rating system might help identify poorly performing content.

So that’s all very obvious but what other digital services to you have?

How about your procurement system? Can your users give feedback on how that works? Do you care, have you ever asked them. If you cannot build in an integrated form have you created a user forum?

There is probably a long list of applications such as travel booking, room booking, expenses, time sheets. Can you colleagues give feedback on how they work? Again would a user forum be helpful and appreciated?

Finally what about some of those hybrid systems such as recruitment portals. When you advertise a job and push your eager potential recruits to apply how do you know that they found applying a seamless process?

These are just some ideas and I am sure that you can think of many others.

The point is that we are all users of digital services in different roles whether they be government services, commercial organisations or our own work systems.

Normally we all like things to work easily for us and this will be helped if giving feedback, welcoming it and acting on it are taken as integral to digital services.