Councils can use ‘cyber signatures’ to improve websites

Understanding citizens by their cyber signatures

Tim Pitts of Agilisys and Logo-Net’s Ben Darlington have written about recently developed technology that allows local authorities to analyse how residents use council websites, by tracking the speed and position of their mouse movements, or smartphone screen scrolling, also known as ‘cyber signature’. This information can greatly help councils to improve user experience of their website, by finding out their needs and interests, and can also be used to encourage citizens to access services online.

So far, the technology has revealed that users of council websites in poorer areas have an average mouse speed that is nearly a third slower than that of users in wealthier areas. Furthermore, those in poorer areas are far more likely to click on a help button than their wealthier counterparts.

According to Pitts and Darlington, “Mouse movements are a cyber-proxy for body language or tone of voice adding that “in the near future it will be possible to change the experience that visitors have on a local government website according to their cyber signature. A visitor halfway through completing an online form, who begins to exhibit a lost or worried cyber signature could be offered online help, perhaps via web chat. A comfortable visitor who knew what they were doing would just be left to get on with it.”   

They conclude that “Being able to understand citizens by their cyber signatures – a cyber body language, if you prefer – is not the answer in itself and these are still early days. But its potential looks promising.”

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