Volume 2, No 3, 2005

An Evaluation of the Websites of Charities and Voluntary Organisations Providing Support for Young People: Case Study: Drugscope

Peter Williams, Karen Dennis and David Nicholas


This paper reports on a study examining the usage, usability and impact of a charitable Website 'Drugscope'. A range of methods were used to evaluate the site, including Inspection, examining the extent to which the site met recognised quality criteria; formal usability tests, including information retrieval tasks; an online user survey and computer log analysis. Log results showed that the site attracted around 300-400,000 page views per month, although two-thirds of all users accessed just one page before going somewhere else. Although search engines tended to take most users to pages other than the 'Home' page, it is still likely that many users did not take full advantage of the information offered on the site. Survey respondents, mainly drug workers or academics, had a variety of information needs, that were generally well served by the site. Overall, the site is very well organised for retrieving information. In order to promote best practice, the research suggests that charities need to take account more the international audience attracted by the Web, include quality indicators such as source attribution and currency stamps, and make sites more accessible to those with disabilities. Overall, however, Drugscope proved itself to be a highly effective information provider.

Pages: 1-18

Keywords: Website, User studies, Usability, Accessibility, Log analysis, Evaluation

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