What do we know about users of www.ons.gov.uk

Inspired by last month’s What do we know about the users of www.parliament.uk? we thought we would give you an insight to our own users and how their interaction with us is helping us understand their needs.

We collect quantitative data on a regular basis using webtrends and conducted our first qualitative survey last October, giving us insight to what statistics our users are accessing, how long they stay for and how they came to us in the first place. This helps inform the way we structure and present our information as well as identifying any trends in user behaviours

Headline Statistics for April 2014
In April, we had 715,000 visits during the month, with 3.3 million views of our pages. Over the last 12 months, our website traffic has increased by 32% compared to the previous 12 months. What people were interested in reading, was fairly consistent with the previous month which is down to the fact our big economic releases happen monthly. This shows thats the economy is a hot topic for our users.

Our cousins in the USA were the most likely tourists to our website during this month with most people’s first point of entry to the site being the homepage, and searching for information on RPI.

And in our visitor’s top fives for April..

Top 5 monthly releases

  • · CPI
  • · Labour Market Statistics
  • · Retail Sales Index
  • · UK Trade
  • · House Price Index

Top 5 Quarterly Releases

  • · GDP
  • · Crime Statistics
  • · Migration Statistics
  • · Consumer Trends
  • · Balance of Payments

Top 5 Annual Releases

  • · Baby Names
  • · Mid-Year Population Estimates
  • · Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings
  • · Internet Access
  • · Marriages

Since January 2013, we have been trying to extend the reach of our statistics to a less expert and technical user. This has included the production of infographics, short stories, engagement on social media and more interactive content to bring this data to life. In April, the following stories grabbed the attention of visitors to the website:

Where do our website visitors come from and what are they looking for?
As you might expect, the majority of our visitors come straight from Google closely followed by statistics.gov.uk, bing, The Guardian and Twitter. If you are interested in the nationality of our visitors then the USA, Germany and France rank in the top3 followed by India and Australia. In terms of what they are looking for then the most popular search terms being entered by our visitors are:

  • · rpi
  • · baby names
  • · cpi
  • · retail price index
  • · GDP
  • · Population

How did they get to us?

During April, the majority of our users entered our site through one of the following 5 pages:

  • · Home Page
  • · Census Home Page
  • · Retail Prices Index Theme Page
  • · Population Theme Page
  • · 2011 Census, Population and Household Estimates for England and Wales Release

They did this using a range of mobile devices, the most popular being an Ipad, Iphone or Generic Windows Tablet

and when do they visit?
You may remember we did some research into when our social media community were most active to identify whether we were communicating with them at the right time of day. This short survey gave us useful insight and helped inform the way we engage in the future.

Our website analytics show that our users tend to visit and engage with us throughout the day at various intervals too.. As we would expect, 9am -12pm is the busiest period, especially when we release statistics at 09:30am. It then drops off during the lunch period, picking up again between 2pm and 4pm. Interestingly, visitors then come to our website later on in the evening between 9pm and 10pm.
Understanding our users and their needs is a top priority for the organisation, especially in Digital Publishing and hopefully we will continue to share our insight with you on a more regular basis through this blog.

If you would like to take part in any user testing activities to make sure we are meeting your needs then email us at userinsight@ons.gsi.gov.uk