From text-heavy sites to scanned brochures and too many moving pictures, a recent study of government websites in Ireland indicates that the sites could use a little help from ergonomics when it comes to making the user’s on-line experience simpler.
The goal of the study was to ensure that Ireland’s county councils maintain effective websites that are helpful, easy to maneuver and that act as effective alternatives for conducting business face-to-face. However, the study implied that most of the sites failed by merely attempting to mimic the government office’s structure rather than creating a site that takes advantage of the on-line presence with designs that focus on the user.
Specific complaints included a heavy reliance on text causing “needless scrolling,” eyestrain and slow reading. Other problems cited included instances where users could fill out forms on-line but had to then hand-deliver the forms to specific offices for processing, plus an overwhelming lack of convenience. The study sponsors also suggested that developing sites with more convenient and positive user experiences would encourage continued use of the websites.
Additionally, a recent UK government internal audit reportedly found nearly 80 percent of the UK’s central government websites were in need of a redesign to be accessible to users with disabilities. Proponents of redesigning the government websites indicated that websites that could effectively accommodate disabled users would also be beneficial to all users.
Source: Ireland Online.com; Europe Media.net