The top ways federal websites messed up in 2012

Tools

A team that tests federal websites for usability says in a Dec. 28 blog post that they found four main problems in 2012.

The HowTo.gov team summed them up as:

  • the purpose of the website isn't immediately identifiable,
  • navigation labels contain too much government jargon,
  • it's unclear which agency is behind the site,
  • the most common uses for the site aren't at the top.

In 2012, the HowTo.gov team conducted 26 tests on federal websites, intranets and other services. Six managed to make improvements within 30 days of the test, the blog post says: Search.usa.gov, FedRAMP, NASA's mobile site, Regulations.gov, OMB Max and SAM.gov.

The HowTo.gov website might be a useful model for those in need of remedies. Its purpose, "Your source for new media in Government," is the slogan along the banner atop each page. Its navigation labels are simple enough to be intelligible to government outsiders.

The "About" page, linked to near the top of each page, identifies the site as DigitalGov, "a blog about using digital tools to deliver agency-mission, customer-focused experiences in federal government," and says it is hosted by GSA's Center for Excellence in Digital Government, a division of the Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies.

Lastly, the homepage's top and top-right navigation bars link to the site's blog, the "About" page, and the dozen topics the site covers.

For more:
- go to the HowTo.gov blog post

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