The government of Saskatchewan is making no bones about. The western province’s Web site is the worst in the region and that’s why it’s taking down Gov.sk.ca and building a new one.
Back in 2011Saskatchewan’s digital team conducted a study by asking residents to complete a series of simple tasks such as looking for registered daycare centres on the Web site and then reporting their experience. “The most frequent work to describe the site was ‘frustrating’,” a statement from the government said. “…The outcome was 11 per cent satisfactory rating. Nearly 70 per cent of tasks either could not be completed or were completed with difficulty.”
The province also compared Gov.sk.ca to sites of other jurisdiction sin western Canada and found it lagging behind web sites run by British Columbia, Alberta and Manitoba.
Since then, Saskatchewan’s digital team has been working to build a new Web site. Their “top design principle” is to put customers’ needs first.
The priority was to organize content around what users need and might want to look for “rather than around us and how we are organized as a government.”
The old site was organized based on the structure of the government and its contents are segregated by ministry.
The 2011 tests showed that residents only completed with ease 31 per cent of the tasks they set out to do on the web site and 28 per cent were completed with difficulty at an average rate of 0.2 of tasks completed per minute. As much as 41 per cent of the tasks were not completed at all.
The team researched new designs and approaches aimed at making the site easier to navigate. The site they are working on is also meant to be accessible to various devices such as desktops, laptops, tablets and other mobile devices.
Content is organized into four basic categories: Live, work, play and government.
Within these categories are content bundles, like “Education, Learning and Child Care” and “Working, Jobs and Pensions”.
When they tested the site this year, Saskatchewan residents rated 89 per cent of the tasks within the new site structure as easy or moderately easy. It took them average rate of 0.8 of a task completed per minute.
Saskatchewan.ca is now approximately 40 per cent complete and it now contains about 10 per cent of its total future contents and new features are being added, according to Saskatchewan officials.