A few years ago we developed the go.vic.gov.au URL shortener as a server for Victorian Government departments and agencies and hosted it on the eGov site. We have moved it to our state government portal vic.gov.au. You can find it now at http://www.vic.gov.au/social-media/widgets/url-shortener.html
The Victorian Government now provides a list of widgets developed by various government agencies for quick and easy access to popular content.
The vic.gov.au website has published a new hotlines page. This page lists a range of hotlines from various Victorian Government departments and agencies. To access the page, click on the ‘Hotlines’ link in the large footer. The hotlines are listed alphabetically by title. Each column can be sorted by clicking on the arrow on the column heading (Title, Department or Phone). On your smartphone, you can call the hotline directly.
You may have noticed some subtle changes on the vic.gov.au website:
- Victorian Government text in header – we have made it obvious for the user that they have reached the Victorian Government website;
- Default text in search box – the text now disappears when a user starts entering a search term;
- Removal of Browse button – we had a ‘Browse’ button underneath our large search box. Analysis highlighted that not many users clicked on this button. Search is always the winner and it’s possible that users may not know what ‘Browse’ actually means. Ongoing analysis will reveal whether we have made the right decision;
- Widgets – a new feature. We are now highlighting the ‘Victorian Government Careers’ widget as well as linking to a new widget section where other widgets are listed.
- Fat footer – added a new fat footer to ease navigation to popular content as well as previous browse topics.
We have added a new section on the vic.gov.au website – Consultations. All consultations from Victorian Government departments and agencies are listed alphabetically. You can also filter by Category, Status or Department/Agency. The page also displays the 3 recently added items. You can also search using the Consultations search box to narrow down your search.
We love the new Ontario website. Features include: prominent search box, fat footer for easy navigation, clean look and feel, minimal content on home page, responsive design and use of sidebar for popular content. I particularly like the Popular tab where the user can see what topics are trending now.
We are constantly working on improving access to our www.vic.gov.au site for our visitors using mobile devices (both phone and tablet).
Our audience analysis tells us that 15.2% or our visitors access the site from a phone and 10.2% from a tablet device.
Our most popular content accessed from mobile devices includes grants information, power blackouts, school holiday information, traffic and road alerts, daylight saving, job vacancies, first home owner grants, public holidays, justices of the peace and tollways.
Our tablet traffic is predominantly from the Apple iPad (93.4%), followed by the Samsung (4%); the rest is made up from devices such as the Google Nexus 7 and various others.
Our mobile phone traffic is predominantly Apple iPhone (64.6%) however the percentage is a lot smaller than for tablet as far as Apple is concerned. The next most popular device used to access our site is the Samsung at 21%.
How does this compare with statistics gathered from elsewhere?
The Australian Mobile Phone Lifestyle Index (AMPLI) published October 2013 provides survey results regarding mobile phone ownership and how it has grown over the past four years.
“The results show a clear and steady increase in the popularity of Apple handsets over the last four years, although Samsung had a more significant increase in uptake compared to Apple over the last year. In 2013, 28 per cent of respondents own a Samsung mobile phone, up from 18 per cent in 2012. Apple ownership only increased by 5 per cent from 40 per cent in 2012 to 45 per cent in 2013. Nokia has experienced a decline in ownership with a decrease of 7 per cent from 16 per cent to 9 per cent.” – Source: 9TH EDITION OF THE AMPLI REPORT
The complete AMPLI report shows the increase in popularity of Apple iPhone from 21% in 2010 to 45% in 2013, Samsung has increased from 12% in 2010 to 28% in 2013, but Nokia on the other hand has decreased in popularity from 41% in 2010 to 9% in 2013.
The report is available to download at http://www.aimia.com.au/ampli (registration is required).
StatCounter has provided a useful tool which graphically represents the top ten mobile vendors in Australia – this shows Apple iPhone slightly on the decline and Samsung increasing. StatCounter has been monitoring this movement worldwide.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics reports
“As at 30 June 2013 there were 19.6 million subscribers with internet access connections via a mobile handset in Australia, an increase of 13% from 17.4 million subscribers at the end of December 2012…” Source: 8153.0 – Internet Activity, Australia, June 2013.
What does this mean for us in developing our state portal? We have to be mindful of what devices people use to access our site and also how fast the mobile device market is growing in Australia. We commenced our responsive design project for this site long before it was widely recognised as the best approach to take to provide access for people using the mobile web. One of our next steps will be be to incorporate tablet considerations into our responsive iteration.
Watch this space!
In March 2013, we launched a re-designed vic.gov.au website using responsive design that adapts to mobile devices.
Between 25th July and the 2nd August 2013 we conducted a round of mobile website user testing to try and understand the following:
1. in general, how does the mobile site perform for people in terms of finding information and their efficiency and satisfaction in interacting with the site?
2. what is their general perception of the mobile site?
3. how does the mobile site compare to the website across task and touch points?
The method we used was a scenario based remote behavioural testing on various types of mobile devices. People were recruited to perform specific tasks using their own devices. Each device automatically recorded how they went about finding information on the site.
The study involved 150 participants, 100% Australian adults, currently living in Victoria, 55% were female and 45% male. They age ranged in age from 18 years and older, but slight skewed toward younger generations – generally reflecting the uptake of mobile adoption within the Victorian community.
Below is a percentage breakdown of the age ranges of the participants (the 18-25 year olds and the 26-35 year olds collectively making up 52% of participants).
There were 4 tasks set for the study participants to perform.
- Unclaimed money – the task was to use the site to find the overview page – with information about how to claim Tattslotto winnings.
- Success rate was 77%
- Occupational Health and Safety – the task was to use the site to find the relevant Legislative Act about workplace safety
- Success rate was 54%
- Find contact details – the task was to find and write down the email address for the Minister for Emergency Services
- Success rate was 71%
- Event – the task was to find and write down the start date for the Great Victorian Bike Ride
- Success rate was 88%.
There were strong initial impressions of the mobile site
In all cases mobile exceeded web for
- The page appears to offer a clear starting point to find information
- The page is uncluttered, allowing me to easily find information on the page
- The page appears to offer information that meet my needs
- It appears to be easy to find the contact phone number
The overall scorecard for mobile was 69.1%
- Effectiveness (Task success) was 71.9%
- Efficiency (Task clicks and completion time) 53.9%
- Satisfaction (Customer evaluation) 78.8%
Summary of findings
- The mobile site overall received a good experience score of 69% and overall better than the website 59.8%
- Initial impressions of the mobile site was good (average 7.9/10) compared to web (average 6.9/10). In particular, high scores for a clear starting point and for being uncluttered.
- Overall, tasks on the mobile site have a higher success rate and better efficiency score.
- Despite a good satisfaction score of 79%, the satisfaction with the mobile site is slightly less than for the website
- Mobile site performs significantly better for finding information for unclaimed money, whereas the website performs significantly better for finding contact details for emergency services.
- 87% indicated that they would recommend the services offered by vic.gov.au to friends and family, slightly lower than the 93% for the website; and 77% would recommend the mobile site
- Searching is generally more successful than browsing – but the search bar needs to be fixed so all pre-entered data clears when a search/new search is started.
We are planning to conduct a follow up study early in 2014 after we have addressed issues and pain points discovered as part of this exercise – so watch this space!
Guest Post, by Despina Babbage, Information Victoria, Department of State Development, Business and Innovation, October 2013.
Almost two years ago I wrote on the topic of Renovating the Government Portal . Its focus was on the need for governments to continually test assumptions about the delivery of services, with a special emphasis on the role of the portal.
In part what I said was : Because of the growing recognition that people look for information by using search and not by visiting official government portals to follow pre-determined navigational categories, Google has sometimes been described as the new government portal.
The primacy of search as the predominant online user behaviour has not abated, so the value and relevance of portals continues to be tested.
The challenge to retain practical value to citizens means regular ‘polishing’ of the virtual front door to government. This means on-going user testing for co-design. After all, people don’t care about websites, they care about accessing services – and these need to be easy to find, easy to understand and easy to use.
The paper identified a number of governments that were already on a journey to meet these needs.
In particular, the UK Government had already started the re-design of their virtual front door with the collaborative beta site (ironically) called Alpha.Gov.uk.
Alpha.gov.uk was the first government website prototype that was made available from the outset for public testing and feedback, highlighting a government commitment to developing public services with the user actively involved in deciding how services are designed and delivered.
The evolution of the beta to the current site https://www.gov.uk/#more-on-govuk is built on 10 key design principles. And, not surprisingly, it starts with the needs of the user as front and centre: https://www.gov.uk/designprinciples .
Praised for its ‘well thought out yet understated design, making the user experience faster and easier,’ the UK site won the 2013 Design of the Year award http://www.creativereview.co.uk/cr-blog/2013/april/govuk-design-of-the-year .
And in keeping with its open and collaborative approach, the site continues to evolve by maintaining an open blog relating to its strategy and culture. http://digital.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/
Another site, also previously highlighted, is the state portal of Utah in the US – which has regularly won recognition for its user focussed design and function.
Organised around a prominent search function that aligns with user behaviour, the Utah portal integrates an extensive suite of social media tools that invite citizens to connect and engage.
It encourages the use of these tools and invites public contributions of photos, videos, blogs, maps, mobile apps, data visualisation submissions and widgets to create a citizen-driven community. Even the prominent photo on the main page rotates from the mix of photos submitted by residents of the state.
The site’s by-line under the Connect tab says: Connect with us and together we can work to shape a better Utah – a good example of a government website that actively invites engagement with its citizen users.
With an invitation to collaborate, it features an extensive state government You Tube channel and offers citizens a plethora of other social tools ranging from the usual Twitter and Facebook presences to Flip board, Pinterest, LinkedIn, podcasts, mobile apps and blogs as well as an explanation on the use of QR Codes and how the State of Utah uses these.
And finally, another terrific feature worth mentioning here is their trending alert Right Now on Utah.gov that gives a visual snapshot of their users’ activities on the site. It’s a feature that speaks of an active engagement with the citizens who are entering the virtual front door and adding their own polish!
Victorian businesses and citizens can access information about all Victorian Coalition Government grants through a new consolidated grants portal - Grants Victoria.
Grants Victoria provides a central source for Victorians to access all grants available.
The Grants Victoria lists the total number of grants listed and the three most recently added grants. Grants are listed alphabetically with a thumbnail icon clearly identifying which department/agency is responsible for the grant. Grants can also be filtered by subject.
You can also search for a grant by entering a keyword in the Grants Victoria search box. Each grant provides a description about the grant, start/closing date, status of the grant and a link to further information.
Future enhancements will include filtering by status.
Visit Grants Victoria and check out what grants you may be eligible for.