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Australia's digital equity in government websites improves significantly
Fri, 19th Jan 2024

In the annual Global Government Digital Performance and Inclusion (GDPI) Benchmark for Australia, Australian government websites have shown marked improvement in digital equity and site performance over the last year, reports Adobe. The nationwide score increased to 68.4 out of 100 from 58.8 in 2022, achieving the second-highest score out of six ranked countries, the highest being the UK.

The GDPI Benchmark evaluates federal and state agency websites across three metrics: customer experience, site performance, and digital social equity. Customer experience is assessed based on user feedback regarding desktop and mobile experiences, site performance measures webpage loading speeds, errors, and the findability of sites, while digital social equity measures how accessible, readable, and understandable websites are for all citizens.

For Australia, a significant 33% boost was noted in digital social equity with government agencies enhancing the accessibility and readability of their sites. For many Australians who speak languages other than English at home, the implementation of machine and human-assisted translation services has been beneficial, which led to a 70% rise in language scores.

The New South Wales Government repeated its top spot success in the states and territories list, with a score of 72.9 out of 100. The improvements were driven by advancements in the customer experience, following the consolidation of several websites and the implementation of personalisation capabilities to simplify citizen journeys. On the other hand, Queensland noted the most striking year-on-year surge in the GDPI Benchmark rankings, rising to 70.4 out of 100, while also scoring highest for Site Performance.

John Mackenney, Practice Director Digital Strategy APAC, Adobe, states, "In the past year we've seen Australian governments sharpen their focus on the quality of digital public services, and this report shows that investments are making a difference." He noted that the accelerated demand for online public services has governments working toward meeting the various needs and expectations of their citizens.

Yet despite the progress, customer experience showed no significant change in 2023. The lack of mobile-friendly experiences alongside slower mobile page loading speeds can potentially impact many citizens who solely access the internet via mobile devices.

Mackenney added that while government scores continue to grow in the GDPI Benchmark, they still lag behind premier private sector entities, with many citizens still struggling to find public information and services on their preferred devices. He proposed that generative AI technologies could help transform the citizen experience and narrow the digital divide, such as by assisting with information search and synthesis from multiple sources, and supporting multi-lingual interactions through AI chatbots.