Pretty Simple: web, digital, social

As we’re currently considering designs for our organisation’s new website homepage, I thought it would be interesting to bring together all of the 11 local authority websites which were awarded the full 4 stars by SOCITM’s Better Connected 2010 report.

In doing so, I was surprised by the variety of approaches taken by these best-practice sites. I had hoped for some clear trends and design methodologies, but instead found some striking differences. Of course, the presentation of the homepage is only a small part of the story on any website, and given that many users will come in via search engines (and thus possibly never even see your homepage), any analysis should be proportional.

Nevertheless, visual comparison of the 11 4-star websites does offer up some useful inspiration and the similarities have plenty to tell us.

Note: screenshots taken in March 2010

On this page:

The 4 star websites

Allerdale Borough Council

Screenshot of Allerdale's website

Brent Council

Also see the comments below for a link to Brent’s upcoming, minimal version.

Screenshot of Brent's website

Buckinghamshite County Council

Screenshot of Buckinghamshire's website

Cambridgeshire County Council

Screenshot of Cambridgeshire's website

East Sussex County Council

Screenshot of East Sussex's website

Exeter City Council

Screenshot of Exeter's website

Newcastle upon Tyne City Council

Screenshot of Newcastle's website

Oxfordshire County Council

Screenshot of Oxford's website

Salford City Council

Screenshot of Salford's website

South Tyneside Metropolitan Borough Council

Screenshot of South Tyneside's website

Worthing Borough Council

Screenshot of Worthing's website


  • 7 of the sites had clear links to RSS feeds
  • All had links to latest news
  • 9 of the sites put the main categories on the right-hand side
  • Most had localisation features – often via a postcode search or similar


  • The length of the homepages was a surprise, with some stretching to three screens long (with a 800px high viewport).
  • Many of the pages appeared quite text-heavy.

Is there anything else you think is notable about these screenshots? Do you have a favourite? Let me know via the Comments section below…

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2 Responses to Better Connected 2010 – comparing the 4 star homepages

  1. Dane Wright says:

    Brent’s homepage is about to change to a new minimal version –

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