Google AnalyticsUsabilityConsumer Behavior
As online platforms are swiftly becoming a dominant interface of government–citizen interactions, it is crucial that these platforms are inclusive. This article considers the potential of using digital trace data for assessing inclusivity in online platforms. Given that Google Analytics (GA) is a popular tool for collecting and analyzing digital trace data, this article asks to what extent GA is useful in usability evaluation for assessing inclusivity. This article reports on a case study in which GA was used for the usability evaluation of an online participation platform of a local government in The Netherlands. The usability evaluation via GA highlights that the platform was less inclusive toward two categories of users, namely, mobile users and users who access the platform via social media or referral. We conclude that GA is helpful for assessing inclusivity in online government platforms, particularly to the extent that it can be used to monitor whether there are differences in usability for different categories of users. Shortcomings of GA are that it gives limited insights into underlying reasons for identified behavioral patterns, that data quality can be compromised, and that functionalities of GA are restricted based on privacy or legal considerations.
Annelieke C. van den BergSarah GiestWessel Kraaij