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CUE overview

To ensure a consistent experience, the Consistent User Experience (CUE) Standard requires that:

  • agency web pages are laid out consistently, with elements such as the navigation, search button and agency name always in the same place
  • navigation is based on what visitors are likely to be looking for, rather than on how departments are organised
  • the underlying techniques used to create the pages ensure they are accessible to as many people as possible.

The CUE Standard incorporates previously independent standards and guidelines into a suite of requirements for the Queensland Government online.

Purpose

The purpose of this standard is to provide consistency across Queensland Government websites. This consistency will improve the online experience for citizens by:

  • providing an immediate sense of trust that the citizen is on a Queensland Government website
  • ensuring citizens need only learn once how to:
    • orient themselves and navigate within a website
    • interact with forms and common interface components
  • providing a universal approach to issues of social inclusion, including:
    • use of plain English
    • browser support
    • promotion of open standards and formats
    • accessibility.

'Consistency should be maintained across different Government sites according to the CUE Standard to maintain a seamless experience for users, particularly the representation of the Government logo, agency banners, navigation and content columns.'

PTG Global - Customer satisfaction analysis integration report (2009)


'Consistency breeds familiarity and predictability, which breeds usability.'

Dr Jakob Nielsen (2007)

The primary tenet of the Consistent User Experience Standard is consistency; including design and layout, accessibility, usability and functionality; with a view to ensuring an optimal customer-centric experience.

The Toward Q2 through ICT strategy was released in September 2009 and outlines the Queensland Government’s information and communication technology priorities and targets to create more accessible, efficient, and effective services for the benefit of all Queenslanders.

Focus area 1 - 'accessible government' delivers easy-to-access, customer-centric services and information for all Queenslanders. Through this, the Queensland Government will implement a single website experience using the franchise model to coordinate information and ensure online service interactions are accessible through the Smart Service Queensland web presence/single portal.

CUE Standard v3.0 supports this by:

  1. strengthening the Queensland Government brand
  2. consistent placement of key elements such as search and navigation
  3. providing other standard modules of enduring value to both pre- and post-transition websites.

Background

'In an effort to hide complexity and reduce confusion for the customer, the Queensland Government is migrating toward a "consistent user experience" for the online environment.'

Consistent User Experience v1.0.6


The Consistent User Experience Standard was released in June 2002 with the aim of hiding complexity and reducing confusion for citizens by making all Queensland Government websites appear as if they are part of the same site.

Usability testing on Queensland Government websites has demonstrated that the Consistent User Experience Standard has achieved success. Testing has found that users like that Queensland Government websites look similar, and that they can easily identify that they are on a Government website. This ease of identification increased the trust and confidence users felt when interacting with the websites. (Peak Usability 2010)

This research has also demonstrated that the CUE Standard will support the Single Website Experience program. Other jurisdictions that have implemented a single website experience have faced difficulties because of the significant degree of difference between franchise websites and agency websites. Queensland Government is better placed for a successful implementation because the agency sites already use a consistent look and feel through the CUE Standard.

The 2009 CUE Review considered all aspects of the CUE Standard version 1.06 and identified where international standards and industry best practice could improve the Standard. This revision (version 3.0) incorporates the findings of this review and also integrates other subordinate standards and guidelines into modules within the CUE Standard.

The CUE Standard and modules have been developed collaboratively at a whole of government level, through the Online Advisory Group and special interest groups, and provide a unified interpretation of industry best practice at a level that is largely independent of individual site purpose or specific designs. These modules have been written to clearly demonstrate the value returned on time invested conforming to their requirements.

Scope

This Standard applies to all public facing websites and online applications (including mobile device applications); established by Queensland Government agencies, including statutory authorities, within the gov.au and edu.au domains but excluding those websites in the .eq.edu.au domain. Websites in the .eq.edu.au domain must conform to departmental policy.

Commercial domains must not be used unless there is compelling evidence to support this, such as to protect against the use of Government ‘brands’ in other domain spaces.

Where use of a .com.au domain is justified, it must be used only to redirect to the appropriate .qld.gov.au domain. Refer to the Information Standard 39 – Domain Names for more information.

It is not compulsory for the CUE Standard to apply to intranets and extranets; however advice is available if an agency elects to adopt the standard in these environments.

Components of the Standard

The Consistent User Experience Standard consists of the following modules: