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Informatie op een overheidswebsite De relaties tussen informatiebehoeften van gebruikers, gebruiksgemak en de ordening van informatie Onderzoek naar de website van Waterschap Rivierenland

Schoenmakers, Laura H.G. (2010) Informatie op een overheidswebsite De relaties tussen informatiebehoeften van gebruikers, gebruiksgemak en de ordening van informatie Onderzoek naar de website van Waterschap Rivierenland.

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Abstract:This study concerned the information on a governmental website, namely the website of Waterschap Rivierenland. Three different components of information were investigated: information needs, user problems with seeking and finding information and the information structure. These three components were the subject of three separate substudies. Subsequently, the results of these three studies were examined next to each other to investigate the role of user expectations. User expectations occurred in all three substudies and can therefore be seen as the link between the three. User expectations as a link enables a comparison between the results of the substudies. The ultimate goal of this study is to determine what relationships can be found between the three subjects: information needs, user problems with finding information and information structure. The study started with a practical question from Waterschap Rivierenland: what information and services do citizens need? Waterschap Rivierenland already had knowledge about the demands of the central government and their own needs but they did not know yet what citizens needed. Alongside this practical motive was also a theoretical motive. The three subjects information needs, user problems with finding information and information structure have been investigated in several studies before, but have not yet been combined in a study to examine the relationships between the subjects. This research is useful because of the resemblance in all three substudies: user expectations. By examining the relationships we are also able to make a statement about user expectations and to check if the website of Waterschap Rivierenland meets these expectations. Moreover, citizens have not played a big role in studies about governmental websites so far, despite the recommendation of several researchers to include the user when designing a website. Therefore citizens and their needs play a large role in the current study. People expect to find information on the website of Waterschap Rivirenland that is primarily important for their personal situation or to achieve certain goals. The respondents of this study qualify this information as important and thus expect to find it on a prominent place on the website, like the homepage. Respondents expect a thematic information structure with clear labels so they can determine directly what information they will find there. At time of writing this thesis, the website of Waterschap Rivierenland did not entirely meet above expectations. Therefore, adjustments are still needed before the website can meet user expectations. This study proves the existence of three relationships: 1) a relationship between information needs and information structure, 2) a relationship between information structure and user problems with finding information and 3) a relationship between information needs and user problems with finding information. The results demonstrate that important content is sorted together more often than important and less important content is sorted together (relationship 1). User problems with finding information are often caused by ambiguous and indistinct labels (relationship 2). Finally, respondents did not succeed in finding important information in a more effective or efficient way than finding less important information. Such a relationship would be expected based on the possible relationships between the subjects. Recommendations for Waterschap Rivierenland include increasing the findability on the website by designing a deep website structure instead of a wide structure. Results also point out that it is useful to examine the benefits of a “digital counter” (“digitaal loket”). In the current study only a few respondents used this digital counter to seek information and it was hardly used as a label in the sorting study.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Clients:
Waterschap Rivierenland, Tiel
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:05 communication studies
Programme:Communication Studies MSc (60713)
Link to this item:http://purl.utwente.nl/essays/60581
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