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Report recommends a focus on the usability of public e-services

A newly published report on the quality and usage of public electronic services (e-services) has revealed that over half of users are satisfied with online government information. The study, carried out for the European Commission in support of its eEurope 2005 action plan, f...

A newly published report on the quality and usage of public electronic services (e-services) has revealed that over half of users are satisfied with online government information. The study, carried out for the European Commission in support of its eEurope 2005 action plan, found that most respondents were attracted to using e-services in order to save time (84 per cent) and gain flexibility (65 per cent). For citizens, a sense of user satisfaction is derived from the ease of use of a particular service, while businesses are more interested in the speed of the website. Based on the responses of the 28,000 people involved in the survey, the report's authors make a number of recommendations for public administrations wishing to develop e-services. Given the importance of usability to most users, the report says service developers should design websites that are easy to use, with improved navigation, content design and site design. However, as webmasters begin to address such issues, the report predicts a move away from usability improvements to a focus on process integration. It concludes that webmasters should consider optimising the underlying workflows, automating and simplifying processes, and improving coordination of information internally and between different content providers. Commissioner for Enterprise and the Information Society, Erkki Liikanen, welcomed the report: 'This survey gives a good insight into the actual usage and benefits of e-government. It provides helpful guidance for public administrations wanting to improve the quality and the take up of their own online services.'