Online Experience Index – Political Parties

March 16, 2015 4:32 pm

Online Experience Index – Political Parties



As the election date looms, the political parties of the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland are locked in a fierce battle of wills to gather support and win the favour of the public.

In an increasingly digital world, websites and social media pages are becoming the major touchpoints between the parties and the people, so it is critical to provide a user-friendly and engaging online presence. As such, we decided to turn a critical eye to the web experience of the major players in this years’ elections.

Looking at the Conservatives, Labour, Liberal Democrats and UKIP, we assessed and analysed the websites for each party on their usability and overall user experience. At this stage in the year, visitors to the site may be looking to connect with the party, or contribute to the campaign; the tasks we tested the sites on included:

  • Signing up for news updates
  • Registering to volunteer with campaigns
  • Connecting on social media
  • Donating money to the party
  • Joining or becoming a party member

By utilising our leading Online Experience Index, we were able to score each site on multiple facets of the user journey – including:

  • Homepage & Design
  • Navigation
  • Flow & Layout
  • Form & Errors

The Index allowed us to rate the site on various aspects, with points being awarded for usability, and penalised where changes could be made to improve the experience. These individual ratings were weighted to give more credit to more vital site requirements, thus allowing us to quantify the overall usability of each facet of the site to compare between the parties.


[call_two href=”/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/OEI-PoliticalParties-March2015.pdf” label_button=”download full report ” class=”call-to-action-two” colorstart=”#FD8E4E” colorend=”#D75515″ colortext=”#FFFFFF” icon_size=”20″ color=”” align=”vertical” width=”normal” icon=”icon-file” ]

Full Report

Download the full report as a PDF.[/call_two]

Headline findings

overall

There was wide variation between overall scores, and no one site was the clear winner; each party fell down in certain areas relative to other sites.

The Liberal Democrats performed strongest in overall design and site navigation, while the Conservatives site made it easiest to complete details to join the party or donate. Labour provided a relatively strong social media presence, while UKIP excelled across other channels – such as email, and social media, while also making it easy for users to understand and opt to volunteer with the party.

Overall, we found that all party websites make it easy for users to find where to donate, join and volunteer, with these sections readily available from the main navigation menus.

However, none of the parties performed particularly well in communicating the benefits of donating, joining or volunteering.

Regarding the forms on the websites, all parties have room for improvement, whilst some contain critical issues. These include the inability to move through the Labour donation form by tabbing though fields and the unhelpful error messaging on the Lib Dems site.

The Conservatives provide the clearest way for users to sign up for newsletters, whilst on the other sites, this option is hidden or labelled ambiguously.

All parties have a social media presence, but vary in how well this is communicated on the official party websites.

The Index visualisations

conservative

The Conservatives site performed most consistently of all the sites, providing an adequate user experience across all the facets we explored. However, equally the site did not excel in any particular areas, and improvements could be made throughout the website to deliver a more engaging user journey.

labour

The Labour party’s website suffered as a result of the overall design and implementation, and their attempts to cater for users on mobile devices backfired in some instances. The entry forms were adequate, but inconsistencies across screen sizes caused some bugs and issues when viewing the site on a computer screen.

For social media engagement, however, Labour was very strong, covering a number of highly active social channels, and linking these effectively with the site content.

lib-dem

The Liberal Democrats site facilitated a good user journey compared to the other parties. A strong navigation helped the user quickly find and access various pages, and the simple visual design made it easy to understand.

The site suffered however with a lack of information and communication about aspects such as joining and volunteering, and was let down by a poor social media presence.

ukip

In addition to failing to cater for non-desktop users, the UKIP site was the lowest scoring website overall. The usability of the forms when donating to or joining the party was found to be difficult to complete and understand.

However, UKIP excelled at allowing users to volunteer with the party, as well as making it easy for users to subscribe to the newsletter and connect via social channels.

Video Clips of Research

[youtube video_id=”9bkB7lpLXSE” width=”640″ height=”360″ ]
 
[call_two href=”/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/OEI-PoliticalParties-March2015.pdf” label_button=”download full report ” class=”call-to-action-two” colorstart=”#FD8E4E” colorend=”#D75515″ colortext=”#FFFFFF” icon_size=”20″ color=”” align=”vertical” width=”normal” icon=”icon-file” ]

Full Report

Download the full report as a PDF.[/call_two]