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Harrogate Borough Council leading UK local government in digital governance, says Sitemorse INDEX
Harrogate Borough Council has been named a leader in digital governance after once again taking first place for UK local government in the latest Sitemorse quarterly INDEX.
The Sitemorse INDEX reviews sites, scoring and ranking them based on optimisation, experience, compliance and factors such as loading speed and accessibility.
Harrogate Borough Council took first place with an overall score of 9.4 out of 10, representing a very high standard of optimization, user experience and content delivery. The council took first place for accessibility, HTML, performance, email and metadata and was near the top of the table for functionality. However, it also scored 0 out of 10 for brand, indicating that there are improvements that could be made which would allow the council to further secure its top-level placement.
While Harrogate retained the top spot, the leaders in the field continue to deliver to a very high standard – with the top four sites scoring over 9 out of 10 (representing excellent results) and four of the top ten improving their score by more than 0.5 points since Q1 2018.
Aberdeen City Council displayed the greatest improvement in the INDEX, increasing its score from 2.59 to 2.93 and climbing 283 places, having notably boosted the standard of accessibility, HTML and metadata.
Also in the top five were:
2. Taunton Deane Borough Council – scoring 9.4
3. Orkney Islands Council – scoring 9.2
4. North Warwickshire Council – scoring 9.0
5. North Devon Council – scoring 8.5
Meanwhile, Eden District Council, Stroud District Council, City of London Corporation, Havering London Borough Council, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar all entered the top 10, having previously been placed 20th, 18th, 14th, 16th and 213th respectively.
UK local government is one of the strongest performing fields reviewed by the Sitemorse INDEX. All top ten sites outperform the leaders for UK central government, UK higher education and US airlines.
Issues found on low performing sites included broken links, missing images, faulty email addresses and webpages that lacked titles and descriptions. Many organisations appear to be unaware of the issues that are discovered and many more struggle with the substantial challenge of manually monitoring and implementing repairs.
Lawrence Shaw, CEO of Sitemorse (www.Sitemorse.com), said, "For local government, it's really critical that compliance and accessibility are delivered on, and it forms a central part of their service today. Given this, it's great to see that many councils take this responsibility very seriously and work to deliver a high standard of digital governance – and Harrogate, holding the top spot, are exemplary in this regard. Our job at Sitemorse is to ensure that recommendations for improvement are accessible and actionable. Rather than providing endless reporting, our service enables rapid progress."
The results of the INDEX were based on a total of over 115m tests on public pages carried out in April 2018. Every page on every site surveyed was subjected to over 1,600 unique tests, checks and measures each.
Other sectors covered by a Sitemorse INDEX include UK police forces, central government, UK higher education, US airlines and consumer finance.
The Sitemorse INDEX report is carried out by Sitemorse, which helps clients to continuously and automatically monitor for issues relating to optimisation, experience and compliance (including SEO and accessibility)
About the Sitemorse INDEX
Since 2002, the Sitemorse INDEX has provided an independent industry standard for benchmarking digital governance. Sites are reviewed and scored based on some 1,600 tests, checks and measures per page, identifying actions that improve optimisation, experience and compliance. Since its inception, it has been the fundamental measure of digital capability for organisations that strive for online excellence.
Scoring highly typically reflects those that have strong digital leadership and understand the importance of providing the best visitor experience possible – and it reflects positively on the entire organisation's operations and branding.
The latest results follow over 115m tests on public pages carried out in April 2018. These results provide extensive insights into the experience that these sites deliver and offer vital information on how they can better meet audience expectations – points that are crucial, but impractical to capture manually. Indeed, organisations are all too often unaware of what might be simple actions that they could take that would offer immediate improvements to their delivery.
The company has now been moving the field of Digital Governance forwards for over 15 years, while remaining privately owned, and continues to provide clients with new tools and capabilities every year. Most recently, this has included a focus on extending capabilities directly within the CMS, as well as addressing the governance / QA service issue of 'endless reporting'.