In May this year, we conducted an on-line poll to find out the main reasons why people interact with the European Commission. The 107,000 responses from all around the world give us rich data about our audiences and help us set priorities for our digital communication.

Main findings – six tasks dominate the results

The wheel below shows 100% of the survey results. Each division represents a group of the 77 tasks or reasons why people interact with the Commission – for example, seeking funding, contacting a staff member, etc. Results of the poll show that there are six main reasons why people interact with the Commission, and that by focusing on just 18 tasks we can meet the requirements of 50% of our customers. In addition to choosing their five main reasons for interacting with us, respondents also answered a series of profile questions (age, employment status, occupation, role, interest areas) allowing us to break down the results of the poll in multiple ways.

Solid data we can act on with confidence

The results reveal clear consistency across all profiles, occupations, countries, languages. The graph shows the voting trends as the survey progressed. Most tellingly, 3 of the 6 top tasks were clear leaders from day one. So the pattern of results was set soon after the survey was launched, and the probability that more respondents would bring in different results is infinitely small.

This consistency of voting across the full range of audience profiles shows us that common navigation and labels will serve the vast majority of our customers. It also underlines the need to coordinate our work across the Commission. As the programme unfolds, the digital transformation team is constantly exploring how best to involve all departments, as a matter of principle, in the work that affects them.

Internal survey – what the staff expected

Just after the poll closed, an internal survey was run to find out what staff thought the results of the survey would be.

This exercise could be described as an 'empathy check' to see how well we Commission staff know our customers. With 668 respondents, the results were stable after 167 responses.

The internal survey had the same format as the external poll – based on the 77 tasks. Note the differences between our customers' top 20 tasks and what staff had anticipated:

Gap between what staff and customers think

Comparing the two surveys shows that our organisation underestimates the importance of five of the tasks voted most important by people outside, and overestimates the importance of one – funding, grants, subsidies. We also strongly backed a task which was in fact a low priority for customers  – complaints to the European Commission.

Positive news

We can be greatly cheered by the results of the survey. They give us clear and solid data on the main reasons people come to interact with our organisation online. We are now using the  results of this poll to work with all the DGs on the information architecture of the new Commission web presence.   


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