How we are improving this site

 

Putting the customer first

We want to improve this website so everyone can access the information they need, at a time that suits them, using the device of their choice. As part of this work we are:

  • making it easier to navigate the site - using a mouse, finger or keyboard
  • applying best practice recommended by the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) 
  • listening to feedback from SOCITM - a national organisation who score local government websites on useability and accessibility
  • involving local people in extensive user-testing to ensure we are getting it right

We are also using the comments you provide via our GovMetric feedback facility to make further improvements.


Making our site `mobile first`

Viewing the Cumbria County Council website on a mobile phone

Most of the visitors coming to this site are now using a mobile device rather than a desktop PC or tablet, so we are taking a "mobile first" approach, making changes to our page layout so it is easy to read and navigate from smartphones. This presents many challenges as some of our information systems are provided by third-parties so we are looking at ways of making the customer journey as seamless as possible, wherever we can.

 

Faster navigation 

You told us that it was slow to navigate around the site, and difficult to navigate on mobile. So we have made changes to the site navigation:

  • Desktop and mobile users can now navigate our site structure quickly by using the same slide-out menus
  • Added a local service search widget so you can find opening times, addresses and contact details quickly
  • Placed frequently used links at the top of our main page, these will be updated regularly to reflect changing needs

We are in the process of reviewing the content on our site to remove any old or unnecessary information, so you will continue to see improvements as we work through it.

SOCITM Logo

"Clearly a great deal of thought and planning has gone into devising a workable navigation for this new website, and I like it a lot."

- SOCITM (August 2018)



Better site search

You said it was difficult to find information using the site search, this is due to a lot of our information being held in separate areas which are not part of the main website search, so:

  • We have made improvements so you can now retrieve information easily from these different areas 

 

Screenshot of searching for a bus timetable

 

Improving external search

We are improving our page metadata so external search engines like Google and Bing are able to signpost visitors to the right pages with more accuracy.

Part of this process involves removing some links to external content, where we have in the past acted as an information portal. However, our web analytics show from the high bounce rates (where a visitor enters our site then immediately leaves on an external link) that this is actually adding an unnecessary step in the visitor journey so by reducing the external signposting we will be allowing direct links third-party content to appear higher in search results.



Easier to find local services

You told us the "find my nearest" maps pages were difficult to use, and didn't have enough detailed information on them. So we developed a service search which is easier to use, gives more detailed information including telephone numbers, addresses and opening times, and still provide the option of a map for those users who wish to see them:

Comparing the old map-based service search with the new list-based search (on mobile)

 

Clearer text

We've changed our web font from Arial to Open Sans, a font which is used widely by corporate institutions for its excellent legibility and easy to read characteristics.  We've also increased the general size of our web text to make content easier to read on mobile devices without having to zoom in.


Better support for screen readers

We are also adding special web tags known as ARIAs to our web content, these are used by screen reader software to describe the web content in more detail than simply relying on the visible information.


But we need your help to make things even better...

Got an idea or suggestion for improving this site? Please send us more details using the form below - if you would like a response from us, please include your email address too:






Please enter the code in the box below:


By submitting this form you confirm the following:

  • you have read and understood the council's privacy notice
  • the information provided is accurate
  • you have authority to request services on behalf of others, for example parent, guardian
  • you understand the council will use your data for the stated purposes.