I asked for information on the proportion of visits from desktop, mobile and tablet devices.

 

Overall 56.9% of visits to local authority websites were made from desktop PCs, 27.3% from mobile devices and 16.2% from tablet devices.

 

Desktop traffic

London boroughs have the highest proportion of traffic from desktop devices and metropolitan districts the lowest.

Overall, the variation between different types of local authority is small.

It might be expected that desktop use would be higher in more rural areas because, broadly, the coverage of mobile networks would be poorer. If this were the case a relationship between population density and the proportion of visits made using desktop devices would be expected.

 

In fact there is no relationship between population density and the proportion of visits made via desktop.

I also investigated the relationship between deprivation levels and visits from desktop PCs.

Looking at all the data for England, the more deprived a local authority the higher the proportion of visits to its website made from a desktop PC.

 

When this data is broken out by local authority type the relationship is only seen in non-metropolitan districts and unitary authorities.

 

Mobile and tablet usage

County councils see the lowest proportion of visits via mobile devices and Welsh local authorities see the highest.   London boroughs see the lowest proportion of visits via tablet devices. English county councils and Scottish councils see the highest.

It might be expected that mobile and tablet use would be correlated but in fact there is no clear relationship between them.

There is a relationship between deprivation and both mobile and tablet use.

In more deprived local authority areas the proportion of visits from mobile devices is lower than in less deprived areas. Conversely the proportion of visits from tablet devices is higher than in less deprived areas.

 

The more deprived the area served by a local authority, the higher the proportion of visits made using desktop and tablet devices. The less deprived the area served by a local authority, the higher the proportion of visits made using mobile devices.

 

This relationship between the proportion of visits made from mobile, tablet and desktop devices and deprivation is intriguing.

 

It does seem that a greater proportion of visits are made from mobile devices in areas with lower levels of deprivation. This could be an artifact of some other phenomenon: it might be that mobile coverage tends to be better in less deprived areas.  

 

Key points

This does hint at a difference in the way people use digital services in less deprived areas compared to more deprived areas, with a greater proportion of visits made ‘on the go’ in less deprived areas.

 

This is not a definitive finding, but it is certainly something service designers might want to explore in more detail in their local areas.

 

Further work

The visualisations used in this section are available as interactive tools on my Tableau site http://lawrd.co/1OA5r27.

 

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