Open data foresight

August 12, 2010

I regularly report on the outcomes from the ACSI E-government Satisfaction Index , but the latest one for Q2 2010 reports a drop in satisfaction following some fairly consistent improvements over the last few quarters, although there have been some declines in particular areas.

Why might this be? Larry Freed of ForeSee and the analysts attribute this to some confusion in navigation and search brought about by the US Open Government Initiative and the need to provide data sets.

Hence the title of the piece. If the US is experiencing navigation issues with the presentation issues of open data now, with the UK only just getting on that bandwagon, we need to think in advance where and how to present that data to the best advantage, without burying it in the web site.

We also need to think about our home and landing pages a lot more anyway. With increasing volumes of information, pressures from services to be where they want to be on the web site and adherence to navigation standards all fight for precedence.  In practice, however, it should be the citizen who decides where the data might be and some understanding of how they will approach it is required.

So, don’t bury your light under a bushel, bury the data that nobody wants.


Satisfaction levels out

February 2, 2010

The latest report from Larry Freed and Foresee Results (January 26, 2010) continues to use the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) to benchmark a vast range of US government and agency web sites. The report continues to press the message that a good web site enhances trust, participation and service-delivery savings, which I don’t doubt.

In Larry’s words the argument is (p.20): “Providing a good experience for website visitors clearly has value, so it’s in an agency’s best interest to see where their weaknesses lie and make improvements in order to keep citizens happy. ”

Which means one has to get feedback from the users.

My own argument with Foresee and similar approaches is that whilst this is a great start many of the problems lie in process, in the back office, and resolving the channel issues may not get to the heart of the matter, although it may reveal symptoms.

Larry’s conclusiom on the data is that (p.22): “Although satisfaction with federal government sites remains flat this quarter from last quarter, it remains flat at an all-time high. When looking at satisfaction over the past five years, there is clearly an upward trend. This trend can be expected to continued if federal government agencies embrace Obama’s goals to increase transparency, participation, and collaboration through e-government.”

This applies internationally but let’s not forget that the web is essentially an information and service delivery mechanism, and the excluded are always with us.

Foreseeing the future

November 3, 2009

Foresee have published their latest analysis of citizen satisfaction with US government web sites. I always pick up on this because of the employment of satisfaction, be it the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) or otherwise.

In case no one has ventured further on their web site when I’ve blogged about these reports before, Foresee publish a whole stream of studies about metrics and qualitative data in relation to business and government, including podcasts by their CEO, Larry Freed.

What it does point out is the increasing satisfaction in the USA of citizens with government web sites, particularly where they offer transactions. Further the reviewers state that “there is a clear relationship bewteen the length of time federal websites have measured satisfaction and their ability to make significant score improvments.”  They then identify the need for long term investment in measurement to show real returns.

If we want to know what the key improvment is, Foresee identify it as improved navigation, so let that be a lesson to you all!

The only sad part is that e-government is shown to have taken over from the other channels, not that there is an ACSI measurement of this other than once a year. This also demonstrates the need to measure all channels in parallel  to assist in improving them all, otherwise we are likely to get serious exclusivity problems.


August 19, 2009

The latest report from ForeSee Results has picked up some points worth noting, for example that “effective social media will drive more citizens to federal websites, and their experience once they get there must be good, or they won’t come back.” (page 2)

The study employs the University of Michigan’s American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI)  that has now been in use for fifteen years, both on and off line.

A key finding was that “E-gov that satisfies citizens is still the most efficient and cost-effective channel.” (page 3) Please note the ‘satisfies’ that I’ve italicised, if it doesn’t satisfy it is not necessarily the most efficient or cost effective!

They also find that ‘functionality, navigation and search remain top priorities for improving many government websites’ (page 3). These are believed to have the largest impact on satisfaction.

OK, it’s the USA, but they do take a lot of trouble to analyse users of 109 web sites there, so there is probably some crossover with other nations.


If you are interested and, preferably, in UK local government please complete the survey, it doesn’t take long at all. I’ll keep feeding back through these pages, which are also covered by and PSF.