In a demographically insignifcant poll of one, Alan Mather was asked “How many websites should government have?”. The answers, of which only one could be selected, were provided as follows:
a) One per department
b) One per initiative
c) One per department and one per initiative
d) One per citizen of the UK
The survey participant was torn for minutes between (d) and (e), with (d) being the right answer if we could really deliver fully personalised government content to everyone that wanted it. But then (e) was clearly the right answer because to do (d) you’d start with one website which would make it easier to customise that content (because it was local, properly tagged etc). So (e).
I haven’t seen a single survey yet that raised this as an issue. The question that should be asked, perhaps, is “Where do you go when looking for government content online?” – with the answers unprompted. If the answer is “don’t know, haven’t looked”, what does that mean? If the answer is hundreds of different sites equally weighted, what does that mean? Difficult stuff, but surely more useful as a survey result than noting the quality of a site’s design, the ease of use or the number of technology issues?