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Original research

To establish the main needs of people using the Commission web presence (their 'top tasks'), a cross-DG team (COMM, DIGIT, DGT) undertook extensive and ground-breaking research, resulting in a list of 77 user tasks. In May 2014, users of Commission websites were polled to establish the most important reasons why they interact with the organisation. The poll was done in 24 languages and close to 107,000 responses were received. 

The research is based on a rigorous methodology that has been used successfully with many companies and organisations over the past 15 years. The methodology allows us to see in the precise, statistical terms the main reasons, i.e. the 'top tasks' of people when they arrive at our sites. The analysis of the results constitutes a strong, evidence-based foundation for the architecture of the Commission web presence. 

6 top tasks, 12 medium tasks, 19 small tasks and 40 tiny tasks

106,792 valid responses to the survey were collected from all over the world, 85% from EU Member States. More than 40,000 people volunteered to help with future tests and research.

Concerning the tasks, six areas stood out as being the most important for the respondents. These 'top tasks' received as many votes as the bottom 40 tasks and turned out to be highly stable across all audience profiles. 

  • Yellow = 6 top tasks = first 25% of the vote
  • Green = 12 medium tasks = the second 25%
  • Blue = 19 small tasks = the third 25%
  • White = 40 tiny tasks = the fourth 25%


 Task

VOTES

1

EU law, rules, treaties, judgments

83931

2

Research and innovation

83306

3

Funding, grants, subsidies

79414

4

Education and training in EU

59623

5

EU strategy, political priorities

45331

6

Environmental protection

44921

7

Jobs, traineeships at the European Commission

40358

8

Find a job in another EU country

37657

9

EU news, announcements, press releases

36809

10

Human rights, fundamental rights

35274

11

Working in an EU country (rights, permits, benefits)

34986

12

Order, download an EU publication

33794

13

Track policy and law making process, updates

33558

14

Statistics and forecasts

32983

15

About the European Union (role, structure, how it works, origin)

30065

16

Food and farming (production and safety)

27703

17

Climate change, global warming

26932

18

Regional, rural and urban development

25764

19

Freedom of information (transparency, access to documents)

25157

20

About the European Commission (role, structure, how it works)

24866

21

Product safety, conformity, certification

24660

22

National implementation of EU law, infringements

24326

23

Public health, disease prevention

23933

24

Culture (heritage, arts, films, Capitals of Culture)

23907

25

Doing business in the EU

23650

26

Economic growth, financial stability in EU (crisis, assistance to member states)

23215

27

Doing business with the European Commission (calls for tenders, bids)

23021

28

Conferences, summits, meetings, events

22111

29

Industry norms and standards

21474

30

Employing people (recruitment, terms and conditions, redundancies)

21103

31

Recognition of educational, professional qualifications

20677

32

Energy efficiency

20226

33

Travel within, to and from EU (documents, visa, consular help, currencies)

19166

34

Moving to another EU country (residence formalities)

17958

35

Banking and financial markets (reform, regulation)

17895

36

Relations with non-EU countries, international organisations (diplomacy, cooperation agreements)

17895

37

Languages in the EU (diversity, translation, interpreting)

17295

38

Competition (state aid, cartels, mergers, anti-trust)

16638

39

Development and humanitarian aid

16625

40

Healthcare in another EU country

16114

41

Contact European Commission, European Union

15716

42

Trade with non-EU countries (import, export, agreements, anti-dumping)

15546

43

Loans, access to finance, microfinance

14796

44

Initiate, contribute to law making (public consultations, citizen's initiative)

13256

45

Public procurement (contracts with public authorities, governments)

12850

46

Euro (coins, notes, eurozone, Economic and Monetary Union)

12703

47

Intellectual property, copyright, trademarks, patents

12411

48

Customs, tariffs, quotas, duties

12050

49

Privacy, data protection

11917

50

Consumer and passenger rights

11838

51

EU labels (eco labels, quality labels, audits)

11793

52

Immigration into the EU (asylum,  reuniting family, integration)

11771

53

EU budget

11738

54

EU vocabulary and abbreviations

11076

55

Voting in the EU

10659

56

Crime, fraud, corruption, human trafficking

10528

57

Security, defence (terrorism, sanctions, critical infrastructure)

10043

58

Chemicals (approval)

9910

59

Volunteering opportunities

9692

60

Corporate social responsibility for business

9455

61

E-government

9448

62

Taxation, excise (not VAT)

8767

63

Accession of new countries to the EU, enlargement

8678

64

VAT (Value Added Tax)

8098

65

Judicial cooperation between EU countries, recognition of judgments

7549

66

Pensions, retirement in another EU country

7433

67

Transport safety (air, road, banned airlines)

7256

68

Complaints to the European Commission

6673

69

Resource security (oil, gas, raw materials)

6556

70

Family (marriage, divorce, partnerships, adoption)

6378

71

Emergencies, disasters, civil protection

5944

72

Visit EU institutions, guided tours

5530

73

European Commissioner profiles

5157

74

Goods allowed when crossing borders (alcohol, cigarettes, cash, pets)

4097

75

Driving licence validity in EU countries

3732

76

Vehicles (buying, selling, registration, taxes, insurance)

3473

77

President of the Commission (profile, agenda)

3042

Detailed results

Methodology

To prepare the poll, a comprehensive longlist of potential Commission-wide user tasks was built from a wide range of sources, including:

  • an analysis of the Commission's work programmes, working methods and procedures
  • interviews with communications and web teams in the DGs
  • analysis of the top levels of the Commission's existing websites
  • top 100 search terms over 1 year (google trends & google adwords)
  • top 100 most visited web pages on the Commission's website
  • peer websites (homepages)
  • user research & feedback, including calls and emails to Europe Direct call centre

Intensive work was done to reduce this list (from around 1700 tasks to 136), by removing duplicates and overlaps and merging main and subtasks. Around 20 workshops were held with the DGs which resulted in a final list of 77 tasks.

Identifying the 77 user tasks for the EC (mp4 - 44.19 Mb)

Polling

Once the shortlist of tasks was agreed, it was time to get people worldwide to vote. The DGs were closely involved in identifying the key audiences. Their help was also vital in getting enough users to respond to the poll. The poll was launched in 24 languages on 12th May 2014 for 3 weeks. The poll was advertised extensively on the Commission web presence, in newsletters and through social media. 

Presentations used in workshops with DGs

24 April 2014Polling instructions and next steps for DGs
27 March 2014Collective sign-off of the tasks for translation/polling
20 February 2014Top tasks identification process - kick-off





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The Europa Web Guide is the official rulebook for the European Commission's web presence, covering editorial, legal, technical, visual and contractual aspects.
All European Commission web sites must observe the rules and guidelines it contains.
Web practitioners are invited to observe its contents and keep abreast of updates. Read more.