Over 53% of city council websites in Australia failed to meet 20 or more international online accessibility guidelines, a new report has said.

“This reduces the ability for residents with disabilities, as well as ageing residents with deteriorating vision, to access Council services and information online”, the report by OpenCities said. 20% of the Australian population has disabilities that impair their online behaviour.

Another area of concern is privacy, the report found. Nearly 90% of websites lacked sufficient encryption to protect user data.

The National Benchmarking Report is based on a study of every single council website in Australia – over 550 in total.

It notes that 75% of council websites show frequently used services and 95% provide a search function on the homepage, making it easier for users to find information they are looking for.

However, mobile experience for citizens can be improved. 38% of council websites fail to provide a mobile-responsive website.

Moreover, only 8% of the council websites are written in simple language that the average Australian can understand, according to OpenCities.

Two-thirds of the websites are optimised for search engines, making the websites easy to find online.

21% of the websites failed to pass a speed test, however. “When visitors have to wait for your website to load, they begin to associate their Council with inaction and frustration,” the report said.

Find out more from OpenCities by downloading the report below.

Image by Michael Coghlan; CC BY-SA 2.0