2014-01-08 15:23:06 - Clear signs of improved web governance around the new digital by default strategy adopted by the government a year ago are showing up in Sitemorse’s quarterly benchmarking of all the main central government sites.
Many UK Government services and information sources are now on a new platform – gov.uk - that promises to be simpler, clearer and faster for its users.
A number of government departments on the new platform are showing big improvements in our scoring,
with the Natural Environment Research Council taking top place, the Serious Fraud Office rising 17 places to overall fourth position, the Low Pay Commission up 208 places to 13th, and the intelligence and security agency GCHQ up 119 places to 17th.
The highest rated site belongs to the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), the UK's main agency for funding and managing research, training and knowledge exchange in the environmental sciences.
NERC coordinates some of the world's most exciting research projects,
tackling major issues such as climate change, environmental influences on human health, the genetic make-up of life on Earth, and much more. Their site scored a total of 7.3 in our testing and they moved one place up to take the top spot.
Taking second place is the website of the Central Arbitration Committee, a permanent independent body with statutory powers whose role is to resolve trade union and collective bargaining disputes. The CAC site moves up three places and scores just over 7/10.
In third position in our rankings is the NI Direct site, a hub for central and local government in Northern Ireland, a rise of one place since the Q3 Index.
The new Gov.uk platform has replaced Directgov and Business Link as a hub for government activity. Currently all the ministerial departments and more than 300 government agencies and public bodies use Gov.uk, and the rest are gradually being merged into it.
• Biggest climbers up the table this time include the National Museum of Science and Industry (rising 115 places to 129th overall), GCHQ (+119 places to 17th), the Olympic Delivery Authority (+119 to 88th place overall),Natural Resources Wales (+178 to 24th place overall), and the Low Pay Commission (+218 places to 13th overall)
Also doing well are the Northern Ireland Assembly and Scottish National Party, which in 19th and 20th place have made significant moves up the Sitemorse rankings. The Committee on Radioactive Waste Management moves up 115 places to 68th, just two places below the Civil Nuclear Police Authority, up 60 places to 66th overall.
• Fast-loading web pages are important, so readers of our Index might be interested to see the average response time we recorded when testing each site. A response time above 0.75 seconds can have a negative effect on user experience. The Government Art Collection, the Valuation Office Agency, Civil Aviation Authority, Legal Services Commission and the Judicial Appointments Commission make up the top five here, with average response times just 0.01 seconds on average for a tested page to load.
• Accessibility, backed by law, remains a key criterion for any website. HMRC maintains the highest score here, with 9 out of a possible ten marks. Seven government websites including NERC, the Food Standards Agency and the UK Intellectual Property Office score 8/10.
About the Index
The scores for the Central Government table are created by Sitemorse (www.sitemorse.com) using its automated software that reads and reviews the first 125 pages of each site and places them in a ranked table based on User Experience (UX), Governance, Risk and Compliance (GRC) and Search Capability (SEO).
The quarterly Index Website Review, powered by the Sitemorse software platform, is an important independent benchmark that clearly shows how websites are performing, meeting compliance levels and satisfying their users. It’s also a key indicator for website managers who, while always wanting to be at the top of their game, could be hampered by poor-performing suppliers, non-compliant legacy content or content management systems that often fail to spot errors affecting user experience.
Sitemorse services such as Governisation and the Web Management Toolkit immediately find the issues that affect web users the most on any website, help demonstrate real improvement and ensure you have control and confidence in your web presence.
They will help you minimise unnecessary risk, issues covering everything from compliance with web standards to helping you deal with malware, protect your brand across even a large web presence, and enhance search engine optimisation to help more potential customers find you. They can help spotlight content that may need updating, issues with staff training and support, and focus supplier management. We offer a confidential internal 'company wide' website testing and benchmarking service - allowing you to review the position of all the sites in your organisation. Contact us to request further details and / or an example.
• More information about our surveys and what they test can be found on our website www.sitemorse.com/survey/
• For further Information: Geoff Paddock, Head of Communications on +44 207 183 5588 gpaddock@Sitemorse.com