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Top user tasks EC

What is a task?
A task is what people come to do on our website.
A task could be transactional, eg applying for a research grant but it doesn' t have to be about transactions. Finding details on a new legislative proposal on public health is also a task. Finding people (eg contacting a Commissioner), looking for information about recruiting staff abroad is also a task.

A major survey of the Commission's online presence was carried out in May and June 2014. The goal of the survey was to find out the main reasons why people want to interact with our organisation.


Identifying potential user tasks 


The digital transformation team assembled a comprehensive longlist of potential tasks from a wide range of sources, including:

  • an analysis of the Commission's corporate philosophy, vision and strategy statements
  • interviews with the communications and web teams of the DGs
  • analysis of the top levels of the Commission's existing websites
  • top 100 search terms over 1 year (google trends & google adwords)
  • top 100 most visited web pages on the Commission's website
  • peer websites (homepages)
  • relevant media
  • user research & feedback, including calls and emails to Europe Direct call centre

We then worked intensively to reduce this list to manageable proportions (from around 1700 tasks to 136), by removing duplicates and overlaps and merge main and subtasks.

This process was presented to the DGs at a meeting on 20 February 2014, to prepare for the next phase – getting from the longlist to the shortlist. Around 20 workshops were held with the DGs which resulted in a final list of 77 tasks.

The shortlist was signed off at a plenary meeting to which all DGs were invited on 27 March 2014. 

Full details on the top task identification process


Top task approach


Presentations used in workshops with DGs

24 April 2014Polling instructions and next steps for DGsPresentationppt(3.17 Mb)
27 March 2014Collective sign-off of the tasks for translation/pollingPresentationppt(2.2 Mb)
20 February 2014Top tasks identification process - kick-offPresentationppt(10.88 Mb)




Top task polling and results


Polling: How did we organise the survey?

Once we had the shortlist of potential tasks, it was time to get people worldwide to choose their favorites. The DGs were closely involved in identifying the key audiences. Their help was also vital in getting enough users to respond to the poll. The poll was launched in 24 languages on 12th May 2014 for 3 weeks. Following this a similar poll was launched internally for Commission staff.

Results of EC-wide top task user survey

Over 100,000 people replied to the survey (in 24 languages) with 40,000 people volunteering to help with future tests and research. All DGs were involved in a series of workshops to help prepare the survey questions. We also surveyed Commission staff to see what they considered to be the most important tasks for our audiences.

So what are the main reasons why people want to interact with us?

Six areas stood out as being the most important for the respondents, irrespective of where they work and where they live:

  1. EU law, rules, treaties, judgments
  2. Research and innovation
  3. Funding, grants and subsidies  
  4. Education and training in EU
  5. EU strategy, political priorities
  6. Environmental protection.


Full details about EC-wide top task survey results

Summary of the presentation (total length  31mins):

    • 00:00 - 01:32 Background to poll and what will be covered in the presentation
    • 01:34 - 05:04 What were the results from the staff survey?
    • 05:06 - 17:39 External poll – what are the top tasks of our users?
    • 17:40 - 21:14 User satisfaction – what do users like/dislike about our web presence?
    • 21:15 - 25:57 More detail on survey results, consistency across user groups
    • 25:57 - 31:31 Key findings for the organisation, next steps - working together across silos