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Municipal Website UX Research

Project NameMunicipal Website UX Research
TaglineMunicpal website – improving user experience in features and navigation
Project SummarySurvey citizens of municipality on their experiences with their city website. Query usability problems and requests for features for website redesign.
Date or TimeframeApril 2020
Tasks & ResponsibilitiesRelease survey and collect results of minimum of 40 person sample size. Follow up interviews with citizens who answered. Conduct a card sort with a number of users. Conduct accessibility review of website pages. Query departments for content audit.
PlatformsWeb, email, sms messaging
Design Tools / UX MethodsUsage Surveys, Personal interviews, card sorts
KPIs / Analytics40-person survey response, daily visitors, most viewed pages, most interacted components, time spent on home page
Team / CollaboratorsMike Smick, Redacted

Site usage survey

A 20 question survey was developed and sent to locals of the municipality, soliciting feedback of the current website and related communications. Users were asked to rate various aspects of the existing website in terms of favorability. For example, one question: “What is your experience finding past information on the website?” A majority of respondants rated locating past information as unfavorable.

There were also questions asking users what features of the website were missing. Out of the 47 respondents, 15 of them mentioned a lack of a search feature.

Another illuminating item from the survey was regarding news updates. While over half of the respondents had been connected to the municpality social media page(s), 21 of the total respondents stated that they preferred text messaging alerts for communication of special open events and public safety.

As with any survey some interesting takeaways come in the form of suggestion. One respondent suggested they would like to see more informational content on the website such as local wildlife. Another requested detailed help on sorting of recyclables and e-waste. Two respondents stated there were excessive numbers of PDFs used on the website, presumably their preference would be for more content to be in HTML pages instead of downloadable PDFs.

Card Sort

One of the tasks was to extrapolate from the current site the existing page labels or other modules that might be considered primary content. These content objects were given names or their pages names were used and were randomized for a card sort. Four respondents of the site usage survey volunteered to help with the card sort. As recommended the number of content objects were limited to 40. Two card sorts are recorded here. In both cases, participants created only a couple of their own categories. Otherwise they utilized some existing content objects as top level navigation or categories.

One participant created eight categories, the other six. Both participants had many shared grouping, suggesting that a few more, external and internal (employee or stakeholders) could participate and help get us closer to a potential recommendation for new navigation variants.

Accessibility Audit

A limited audit of accessibility was conducted 15 pages were put through audit software for ADA and WCAG compliance. The software detected flaws across images and missing headline tags and descriptions. Because the site currently doesn’t use transactional forms, these were not a factor. Unfortunately in the time frame, no individual with eyesight disability was located for interview and accessibility was not mentioned as an ‘unfavorable’ in the survey. In hindsight, one of the questions in the survey should have been asking respondents if they wanted to disclose any disability status or usage of assistive devices.


As with any research project, some things found were expected, others were unique and interesting. After the research was conducted and results presented to a small committee, it remains tabled awaiting decisions and future phases of action.