In the city of Portsmouth, citizens come to the website already. In fact, our users have to pay their council tax, parking fines, apply for schools, book bin collections, and borrow books at public libraries, to name just a few services. However, two new forces are pushing the Council to do better on digital:
- The UK government set up a new digital strategy to inform local authorities end public entities on using the Internet to improve care and services to citizens.
- Independent bodies rate and review our website from UX and user perspectives regularly and publish their results for everyone to read.
This is a strong motivation, and partially an obligation, for us at Portsmouth City Council to move ahead and improve our users’ experience.
How We Improve User Experience
In analytics and user experience, everyone has their opinions, but data wins all the arguments at the end of the day. That’s why, at Portsmouth City Council, we rely on software like Crazy Egg in parallel with Google Analytics to manage experiments that, hopefully, can improve users’ experience on the following:
- Gaining a deep understanding of what makes people click on a service.
- Determining what makes some users not complete a task.
- Identifying options for improvements through testing new solutions.
These Are The Objections We Have Found On Our Website Using Crazy Egg And How We Have Addressed Them
With the Crazy Egg confetti report, we have identified that some users were unclear where to click on our services page. Many of them clicked on the left text, which is not clickable, and we realized this was causing confusion and frustration.
How We Have Modified The Home Page
We have A/B tested a different approach to counter this objection and replaced the services list with boxes as in the image below, remapping the way it looks. We have tested this new service layout vs. the previous one assuming that users would find it easier clicking on the new one. This is how the new services section looks now:
Our Crazy Egg confetti report gave us a visual of where users were clicking, which was in the text without hyperlinks, so we have developed a new home page to address this issue. Every text is now clickable, and the list of services is open and available to everyone.
As we are a public authority, contact details are often really hard to address because of the huge number of departments, and they become subject to objections. Prospects said they weren’t sure where to find certain contact details about public officers or departments within our contact directory page. However, these contact details were publicly available on our contact page, and the issue was that users couldn’t find them, only we didn’t know why.
This is an interesting example of how implementing an obvious and simple solution makes all the difference. Our contact directory was built with an accordion; users were forced to click on one of the 58 contacts categories on the accordion, as per the image below. Especially on mobile devices, scrolling through 58 contact items and clicking on an accordion was discouraging and time-consuming.
However, from Google Analytics, we saw a meager bounce rate on this page if compared to the average on the website, and we couldn’t explain why.
Here is the page before our changes with the accordion in place.
The bounce rate was so low (=20%) because people were clicking on the accordion to open the contact details of a department. Crazy Egg reports identified that people were clicking on the accordion, which was something we couldn’t have figured out with Google Analytics only.
How We Have Modified The Page
Also, at the same time, we dived into getting feedback from users asking questions like “did you find what they were looking for?” and received some feedback. 73% of respondents answered “No” to the question, and 27% answered “Yes.” Some of their comments were around users not being able to find contact details. The funny thing is contact details were there on the page, just hidden behind the accordion.
Armed with this feedback, we realized people could have benefited from an open and transparent page by removing the accordion to make all contact details visible in front of them. This is how the page looked after the removed the accordion:
How did the revised page do in our test? We asked them directly whether they found what they were looking for, the same question as before. This time answers were much more positive:
53% of respondents answered “No,” and 47% answered “yes.” Here is the graph comparing the A (with accordion) and the B (without accordion) contacts directory answers:
While in the B version, the “No” is still higher than “Yes,” compared to version A, there is an increase of 121% of positive feedback on the B variant.
Combining Crazy Egg, Google Analytics, and feedback tools, we identified UX issues, tested a new solution, and implemented the change while in the process, demystifying a myth of low bounce rate being a good thing. In our case, the low bounce rate was caused by the accordion, and it was a bad thing.
Bins, Rubbish & Recycling
Crazy Egg identified that for a subset of visitors, finding bin collection dates is essential information. This is what Crazy Egg was showing us:
With using Google Analytics, we identified how these visitors were finding this page:
- Via Google search results directly into the relevant page
- Using our internal search bar
- By visiting several pages in an attempt to find the information
Because we have a home page where we list our top tasks, we had a silly moment where we realized, “why isn’t this task available on the home page yet?”
Therefore our next move was giving more space and visibility to the “Find your bin collection dates” task directly on the home page to make the user experience shorter and better. This screenshot shows that this new task on the home page became one of the most clicked:
Thanks to Crazy Egg, we have identified a key task and improved our users’ experience by reducing the number of interactions.
Combining Crazy Egg with Google Analytics is the most powerful strategy to improve user experience and identify issues that Google Analytics alone cannot. Crazy Egg is also handy to identify trends and issues on most visited pages and underestimated buttons and actions. Armed with this knowledge, you can reorganize how you display your content more simply and intuitively for your users.
Crazy Egg can also be used to experiment with new alternative UX solutions and gather data to check whether these solutions have a positive impact on your key pages. As we said before, everyone has their opinions, but data wins all the arguments.