Focus: Communications - Site Visit - www.adviceguide.org.uk

Citizens Advice is claiming great success for its Adviceguide, which it says got 44 per cent more visits this year than the year before. This may be down to the fact that Adviceguide is specifically aimed at the public, not specialists. The emphasis is on clarity and accessibility, but this is backed up by access to a condensed version of the huge database the charity has compiled for its advisers; it now deals with nearly six million enquiries annually. Information available covers the whole of the UK and includes versions in Welsh, Bengali, Gujarati, Urdu, Punjabi and Chinese.

Main pages

The site recently had a new homepage added that makes it very straightforward to navigate. The look and feel isn't flash (no pun intended) because one of the design aims was to make it as easy to use as possible. Data on employment, housing, family matters, the legal system, tax, benefits, consumer affairs and civil rights are all well signposted. The site does what it says on the tin.

Special features

I like the way that FAQs and factsheets are clearly signposted on the main page, so users can get as much useful material in one visit as possible.

The search engine is both selective and fast - a search for 'debt' returned the three most relevant sections of the site.

Citizens Advice says

"Our new website provides people with round-the-clock access to CAB information on their rights. Information is accessible in ways that are convenient for housebound disabled people and others who may not be able to access traditional shop-front advice services."

Site visit is by technology writer Gary Flood.

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