From September to November 2004, the APS invited members to complete an online survey to let us know how our website is being used, and how we can improve it during our 'revamp' later this year. The revamp will include new functions and features, a fresher visual design and an updated structure to cater for the increasing volume of content and the needs of members.

Three hundred and fifty people completed the survey, of which 89 per cent were current APS members. Many of the comments were particularly useful and will be taken into account as changes are made. Below is a summary of the survey results.

About the respondents

The largest group of survey respondents were in private practice (31 per cent), followed by the public sector (26 per cent). Students made up 18 per cent, and academics another 7 per cent. Less than two per cent were members of the general public, and less than one per cent were either retired APS members or media professionals. Compared to the overall APS membership, students were slightly over-represented in this survey but other categories, including age of respondents, closely reflect the APS membership demographics.

Website content

The information visitors look for most often, that is fortnightly or more frequently, is:

  • News/current issues (63 per cent);
  • Member resources (54 per cent);
  • Events (48 per cent);
  • Professional Development (47 per cent); and
  • Member services (41 per cent).

The following information was categorised as either relevant or very relevant to the needs of respondents:

  • Ethics (82 per cent);
  • APS Governance (80 per cent);
  • Tip Sheets (73 per cent);
  • Jobs and Careers (68 per cent); and
  • Professional Practice Handbook (68 per cent).

When asked what else users would like to see on the web, feedback included a number of requests for more tip sheets and topic-focused sections, legal and policy advice for psychologists in private practice, and information for provisional psychologists. Access to journal articles and research, and student supervision, were also common requests. Complaints included out-of-date information in some Units, an over-reliance on PDFs for information and too much focus on some fields of psychology to the detriment of others.

Layout and design

Overall, respondents were happy with the visual layout and design of the website. Fifty seven per cent agreed, or agreed strongly, that the page layout makes content easy to read and the writing was clear and direct for 69 per cent of respondents. While the font size was easy to read for 66 per cent, 19 per cent of respondents - some of whom added comments - disagreed or strongly disagreed*. Fifty-three per cent agreed or strongly agreed that the website design is visually pleasing.

Using the website

To find out how easy the website is to use, we asked about the menus, search function and site map. Just over half of respondents found information very easy, or easy, to find (52 per cent). For 56 per cent the menus and links were clear and obvious, while 47 per cent found the sitemap helpful. Only 38 per cent agreed, or strongly agreed, that the search results were always relevant, with 23 per cent disagreeing, or disagreeing strongly.

Most respondents who visit our website (58 per cent) look for specific information, with only 30 per cent liking to browse. Forty three per cent use the menus and links to find information, but a surprisingly low 10 per cent use the search most of the time. Forty four per cent of users look for specific information first, then browse.

Almost two-thirds of respondents (61 per cent) visit the website fortnightly or more frequently, of which nine per cent visit the site on a daily basis. Fifteen per cent said that they visit the site rarely.

Website features

When asked what features they would use if made available, participants responded as follows:

  • Update my details (65 per cent);
  • Log and track PD points (60 per cent);
  • Pay for membership renewal (58 per cent);
  • Register and pay for PD/events (56 per cent);
  • Order and pay for products (53 per cent); and
  • Online forums and chats (41 per cent).

Most of these features are in the pipeline and scheduled to be available for members in 2005.

APS Matters

For 31 per cent of users, APS Matters - the fortnightly email bulletin - is their "primary source of contact with the website", and 45 per cent click on the links, or copy and paste them, to view information on the web. Only eight per cent of those who receive it do not read APS Matters. Fifteen per cent of respondents said that they do not receive it, a figure that includes responses from non-members**.

Only 12 per cent agreed, or agreed strongly that there are too many items, with 44 per cent judging the length of items appropriate.

Your comments

Your personal assessment of the overall quality of the website is encouraging, as can be seen from the findings below:

  • Excellent (8 per cent);
  • Very good (47 per cent);
  • Good (25 per cent);
  • Poor (10 per cent);
  • Very poor (7 per cent); and
  • Extremely poor (3 per cent).

Thank you to everyone who took the time to participate in the survey. Your feedback and comments have been very useful and informative and changes will be made to the content to include many of your requests and suggestions. Features such as paying for membership renewal and updating your details will be available to members by mid 2005, with a new visual design and layout to follow. Look out for further updates in APS Matters.

By Tamsin Stanford, Communications writer and editor

* In September 2004 changes were made so that people with visual impairments can control the size of the website font. Your individual Internet settings now affect the font size. To change the setting in Internet Explorer, go to the menu bar, select 'View' then 'Text size' and ensure that the setting is 'medium' (or larger or smaller, depending on your preference).

**APS Matters is sent every fortnight to all members who have an email address and are subscribed. If you do not receive APS Matters, we may not have your correct email address on file. If you would like to receive it, please email apsmatters@psychology.org.au.

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