Search


What can we do to improve how the public is able to search for federal content, via federal websites and commercial search engines?

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Simplification

I think that www.regulations.gov is a great first step at making rulemaking more accessible to the general public. In its current form, however, I think the site and the documents are probably only navigable by people who have above average knowledge about either the agencies or the rulemaking process. I tried to approach the site today as if I were someone who had just heard about a rule, perhaps in passing on the ...more »

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5 votes
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Give choice: Search OR Browse databases

It's frustrating to search with no results repeatedly. Categories and terminology are often arbitrary, so it would remove a barrier to allow simple browsing.

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8 votes
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Search Becomes Strategic - Tied to User Experience

With the recent changes at Google, fixing the search functionality for .gov websites becomes more closely tied to the user experience. This means bringing in user experience professionals who have deep knowledge/expertise in search technology (that powers the site search for these sites) OR search professionals who has a strong background in user experience and information architecture. All too often, designing a successful ...more »

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9 votes
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Speed

Institute best practices for speed (cache pages, use CDNs and so on) so that content loads quickly on any device with any connection.

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13 votes
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Celebrity Playlist-like content

Give celebrity industry experts like Clark Howard and Suze Orman access to their own .gov page. Allow them to list their own favorite US Gov website URLs kind of like iTunes does "Celebrity Playlists". These celebs would no doubt mention, promote and link to their .gov pages which in turn helps engines and users.

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-25 votes
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Require Meta Descriptions

Make meta descriptions a requirement for all pages. Believe it or not, pages like http://www.irs.gov/faqs/content/0,,id=199831,00.html have no meta description to help search engines create better snippets.

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8 votes
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Gov Search Help Forum

A monitored forum where govt employees and users help other users find desired content. This type of user generated content could help expose problematic URLs and surface relevant keyword terms related to those URLs.

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1 vote
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Official Gov Only URL Shortner

Provide an Official US Government URL shortener that only shortens URLs for Official US government domains and websites.

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5 votes
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Index Website

Create a website with simple html text such as that used in www.craigslist.org that subdivides all the ".gov" websites into one page. For example all the science category such as NASA, NSF, NOAA, DARPA, and others would be under one section. Knowing what the federal government provides and where to find is important and should be easily accessible. One example that comes to mind is the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS.gov) ...more »

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21 votes
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Dedicate a defined portion of your web team hours to search

Dedicate a defined portion of your Web team hours to search. The amount of resources assigned would of course depend on the size of the site, the frequency of new content being added. Very often, we set up the search engine, do some initial tuning and testing, and then just let it run. Its important to periodically review search results on your site, review the top searches on your site and provide insights to content ...more »

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12 votes
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Localize search results

Allow me to narrow search results by my zip code, or create a Search.usa.gov account that remembers my personal info (like age, zip code, search preferences) and returns specialized results based on that.

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16 votes
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Empower "Search Police"

There should be an enforcement mechanism if someone is publishing a page that commits publishing sins such as: 1) No sitemap 2) No SEO friendly publishing 3) Not leveraging Schema.org or other open initiatives If someone isn't doing this, someone should have the power to do something about it versus talking. Running a web site is not cheap in the government, and publishing the content so it can't be found is a waste ...more »

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7 votes
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