Independent Age - provides clear, free and impartial advice on the issues that matter to older people and their families such as care and support, money and benefits, health and mobility. IA feel there have been improvements but room for further improvements.
Will draw on some of the findings above and discuss in more details
Reasons for poor Google performance broad topic so sometimes many results are displayed and it’s hard work trying to find the right one poor integration with third party sites or lack of pages with contextual links to third party sites Poor content – labelling, metadata, poorly written content
Findability also about good navigation
Bristol excellent example of well organised and titled sections and explanations which engender confidence from the start, with key topics easy to spot.
Going to use Bristol for a few slides as get so much right
Lovely tone of voice.
Bristol again. Properly segmented and written content makes navigating a complex subject reassuring and meaningful. So many options out there and this is enormously helpful.
Explaining the process is absolutely key. Undeniably complicated but many sites manage to explain it well, which will immediately lessen the stress for the user.
Room for improvement with If you’re not eligible but really well laid out and explain the main outcomes of the assessment
Waltham Forest Really great example of decoding the system and not assuming that users will be familiar with what to us may seem the simplest concept, for example what care and support means. Referred to as social care on most sites but even that won’t be meaningful enough to lots of people. Also one of best examples I saw of good use of a directory, with explanatory content integrated into the directory and findable via search. Again, room for improvement with ‘Useful information’.
Looks promising – assessments not actually mentioned but headings are clear enough for me to be fairly confident which to choose
To find out anything meaningful about the assessment process I have to download a PDF. Unacceptable.
Isle of Wight First result in Google, excellent landing page which exposes lots of content. ‘Services’ bit of a vague title but assessment link is clear so journey seems good at this stage.
Content totally undermines the page. Cut to the chase – meet the need of the user which in this case is to find out eligibility. Too much detailed explanatory content which doesn’t feel relevant to me. I just want to be able to find out if I’m likely to be eligible, or how you will work that out.
Long sentences, long paragraphs. Now imagine on mobile.
Sweat the small stuff – formatting is really important. See poor formatting all the time and shouldn’t happen. Padding, sentence length, paragraph length. Think about mobile. Always.
Uncomfortable subject but councils still need to be really clear about it.
Only two in five councils surveyed were able to present decent information online about the financial rules that govern who can access council and support. Without presenting this information up-front, people will have to find out for themselves what the rules on assets and incomes are, which are amazingly complex and not easy to comprehend.
Not only do I not know where to go, when I do eventually get to a page about payment, it mentions capital limits but doesn’t tell me what they are and I’m told to contact them. Why not include them in the page?
Immediately frustrating for the customer and also the council will incur costs and have to deal with avoidable contact.
It can be done. Many sites wrote beautiful content which explained the financial side of care simply and transparently. Some councils also supplied an example form so that I knew what types of questions I’d be asked.
Emphasise before go into this that although using a third party site – council still accountable for the user experience and outcomes, and responsible for holding them accountable for delivering what they’re meant to. Eg
Third party sites the norm with social care tasks. Can understand why. Massive financial pressures – third party systems offer opportunity save money, encourage self-service Councils don’t have skills or resources to develop own systems Why reinvent the wheel? Not a bad thing in and of themselves.
Not deep-linked to from council site Duplicate content – which is up to date? Look and feel – affects user experience and task completion times Poor labelling – vague labels or over complicated, over-engineering. Some almost seem intentionally complicated so they look more sophisticated Mobile!
Extreme care needs to be taken and high standards demanded of suppliers.
Use of third party sites
Three options but they all go to the same place. If I click choices for someone else I get a drop down but it doesn’t seem to personalise content in any way and, again, just goes to the same place.
No introduction to the process so embarking down an unknown path. The scene needs to be set.
Third option here is same as first, just presented differently. What’s the point? Been pointing this out since 2014.
The design makes the options feel overwhelming and the page hard to scan. Imagine on mobile (desktop view only)
Poor labelling such as ‘Information’ ‘Your support, your choice’ – info about a really great advice service but I’d be unlikely to click the link as just the brand title.
Have two more pages like this where I have to work out the best choice.
Click 5 – finally some information, then a link to What is an assessment. May well have given up by that point. Multiple routes to the same information – simplify the user journey.
Understand why councils using off the shelf products as so much pressure to save money. Not a silver bullet. Think about the whole user journey and ask suppliers how they map the user journey and make it as quick and effective as possible. Take control!
This product, widely used, is not responsive. Completely unacceptable if you’re paying them thousands.
Going back and analysing user journey, drop out rates etc takes time. There are quick wins.
All these things can
Rebecca Buckingham, Better Connected reviewer
Better Connected reviewer and content designer for Kent County
Social care surveys
What I’m going to cover
• Background to the surveys
• Key findings
• Google performance
• Findability via navigation
• Explaining the assessment process and funding issues clearly
• Third party sites
• Summary of quick wins
Social care surveys
• Developed with Independent Age
• Care Act focus: looking for clarity on access to services and
support; funding, information and advice for all including self-
• Topic #1: Request care assessment for elderly relative – 206
councils: England, Scotland, Wales
• Topic #2: Find local services: 152 councils England
• Poor findability in Google: 10% on assessment survey
• Process around assessment gateway obscure
• Funding issue not sufficiently explicit
• Lack of understanding of best web practice
• Poor use/integration of third party sites
• Low use of interactive services: reliance on phone for contact
• Self-assessment tools in early stages
• Influence of Care Act evident in contrast between English and
• Average percentage for not found in Google = 0% - 3%
• 4% of English councils not found for Find local services
• 10% not found for Request an assessment
Action you can take
• Good page titles, metadata and subheads
• Well written content
• Don’t forget about your third party sites
Findability - navigation
Tone of voice
Clear page titles
Explaining the assessment process
Always room for improvement
Clear explanation of process again
and decoding terminology
Another great example
Always room for improvement –
avoid vague labels
Great intro and good links
to further detail
Always safest to assume
no knowledge and write
Poor experiences – request an assessment
Looks promising but . . .
Reams of information about the team
Argh – crucial info in a PDF
More likely I don’t remember
Can I have the number
Mixed bags – request an assessment
So much background info
Sweat the small stuff – it matters
Paying for care
Both tasks tested whether councils providing clear information about
needs assessments and eligibility for council funding.
Although 65% provided information about funding, it wasn’t always
Paying for care – how not to do it
And how to do it
The elephant in the room – third party sites
• Very common in social care tasks
• Poor integration – dumping grounds
• Duplicate content
• Dramatically different look and feel
• Poor labelling – off-the-shelf modules
• Often over-engineered – long user journeys
• Often not mobile responsive. Bad!
The elephant in the room – third party sites
These offer the same options
• Ruthlessly edit and format – write for mobile
• Does it have sensible labels? (inc third party sites)
• Deep links to third party sites
• Write in the active voice – friendlier and shorter
• Be clear and transparent, even with difficult
• Copy good websites
Less quick wins
• Content audit – fill the gaps
• Engage with suppliers – share BC findings
• Own the journey – use insight, demand quality