Government Web sites are not a hit

The U.K. government is keen for people to use the Internet to find out about its services and to this end plans to get all services online by 2005. But if figures from a recent poll are to be believed they have a long way to go to persuade citizens that the Internet is the place to look.

The survey, which was carried out by ICM on behalf of Hedra technology consultants, found that just 14 per cent of respondents would choose to deal with a public body online, with the majority – 41 per cent – preferring to see someone in person and 29 per cent opting to pick up the phone.

Just getting people to visit Web sites is an uphill battle as ICM found that over half of those surveyed (53 per cent) had never looked at a government Web site.

It seems that it isn’t security worries that puts people off just 34 per cent said they wouldn’t use such services online because they felt they were insecure. Instead poor, unintuitive design is the culprit for 53 per cent who said they would visit government Web sites only if they were well laid out and easy to use. Meanwhile, a third of respondents (31 per cent) claimed a site’s appearance didn’t matter to them.

Cost is the overwhelming factor that would have 81 per cent of respondents streaming on to government Web sites. This huge majority said they would use the Internet more if it saved them money.