Town Hall, Tunbridge Wells, Kent TN1 1RS

Website user testing and researching single customer accounts


Following on from a very fruitful introductory Smarter Digital Services (SDS) workshop with representatives from different service areas within Cambridge City Council, the SDS team were asked to carry out two separate pieces of work to assist Cambridge in retrieving some direct feedback from their users.


The two areas of work were:

  • User testing six key online service processes
  • Research into the advantages and disadvantages of a Single Customer Account

What did we user test?

Firstly, Cambridge City Council were keen to assess six separate website processes across multiple different service areas. These processes ranged from reporting a missed bin collection to reporting a change in circumstances that would affect a residents Council Tax payment.


How did we carry out the user testing?

SDS carried out three days of intensive user testing with ten test users. Each of the six processes had a specific scenario that the test user had to complete to test the end-to-end process. SDS would then be able to gauge whether the user was able to successfully complete the scenario that was asked of them.


SDS work with Cambridge City Council to user test common website processes and research single customer accounts: Cambridge City Council


SDS used software to capture video and audio while the user performed the scenario given to them. This is very helpful as we then have access to the notes taken during the test, the video that captures the facial expressions and reactions of the user, the visual of the computer screen which allows for the tracking of where the user is looking on the page, as well as the audio which documents all the users reactions and feedback throughout the test.


What information did we get form the user testing?

  • Captured each user journey from the start of the transaction on the council website, the transition to other websites (where applicable) and completing the transaction
  • Explored how each user completes a specific transaction
  • Assessed whether the specific task or transaction was completed successfully
  • Measured how long it took for the user to complete the task or transaction
  • Explored how users felt when carrying out a specific task or transaction
  • Assessed how satisfied the user was with the experience and outcome
  • Identified any changes or improvements that can be made from the users perspective

What did we find when researching Single Customer Accounts?

Cambridge City Council is currently reviewing the merits of using a Single Customer Account. Councils across the United Kingdom are beginning to use various means to introduce a Single Customer Account to their customers so that all their transactions with the council are in one place.


SDS carried out research to obtain the positive and the negative experiences of introducing a Single Customer Account.


Some of the positives

  • 24/7 access, from anywhere, with any device
  • Reduces avoidable contact
  • Offers rapid resolution of everyday enquiries via a lower cost-to-serve channel
  • Integration of online communications and transactions with back-office functions can reduce administrative burdens and costs

Some of the negatives

  • Off-the-shelf solutions incur additional costs for new development and annual service fees
  • Citizen Portal engagement can fluctuate and vary
  • Citizens dislike the requirement to sign up for an account just to access the service they require


For further information on Single Customer Accounts, please contact SDS directly.


20 December 2017
Cambridge City Council