Usability and Design


What can we do to improve the usability, navigation, and design of federal websites?

Usability and Design

Commit to best practices

The main issue with government sites is that many of them are being run by people whose idea of the Web stopped growing around 2002. There are Web basics--testing with real users, formative user research, and advanced metrics and analytics programs--that everyone in the commercial sector is doing. The government needs to get with the program or risk total irrelevance. Another hint: ease off on Twitter and Facebook. You ...more »

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92 votes
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Usability and Design

Standardized CMS & Templates

While I think creativity is important and should be preserved, there really should be more standardization and consistency for web design when sites are related or linked to each other. Likewise, Content Management Systems (which generally effect overall design) can improve consistency from a functional standpoint. Ideally, all government sites could have at least some common design element to establish identity - ...more »

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31 votes
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Usability and Design

Standardize the layout on every site

Navigation is the biggest challenge on all government websites. Standardize the UI across the board. Stick to a consistent overall page layout, consolidate and use the same UI widgets. Don't make users think. Update with elaboration from my latest comment: I think I might have been a bit too broad. Let me elaborate and see if this makes more sense to everyone. First, the problem I'm trying to solve is that of trouble ...more »

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-24 votes
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Usability and Design

Optimize user paths

Before re-designing an existing site or beginning the design or development of a new site, determine who is going to be using the site and what they will be trying to do there. Optimize the site organization and user flows for easy and frustration-free accomplishment of their primary tasks/goals in using the site.

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77 votes
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Usability and Design

Analytics Support

One of the hardest things for agency sites is having consistent methods, and tools, for measuring web statistics and analyzing those data to make informed recommendations on improving websites and other outreach efforts. If the government had a consistent approach to measurement and analytics for web presences (mobile, traditional, social) then we could all be working from the same page and making sure we're doing what ...more »

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19 votes
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Usability and Design

Permalink to current Weekly Address Video

I embed the current week's President's Weekly Address Video on my website. I have to update the link every Saturday. I would really appreciate it if you would establish a permanent link to the current week's video. That way I could just use the embed code for the permanent link and my website would always display the current message.

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10 votes
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Usability and Design

Create a user-friendly error page for "eliminated" sites

In the spirit of a common experience, create and implement a standard error page for every federal .gov website that is decommissioned, archived, or otherwise removed from public access. Offer a friendly, plain-language explanation, the ability to search all .gov websites, and perhaps a link to USA.gov and / or a centralized .gov archive. This will prevent ISPs from serving ads when a user goes to a .gov website that ...more »

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54 votes
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Usability and Design

Fail on Paper!

I recommend a robust discovery and design process that emphasizes user-centered interaction design best practices.

 

Research-informed user-tested high-fidelity wireframe prototypes - that's the point in development to identify usability issues and adjust. Fail on paper, as it were, not post-launch!

 

'Getting it right' before engineering may require a greater time investment up-front, but it pays off.

Submitted by (@corey0)

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30 votes
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Usability and Design

Run Gov’t web properties in tandem with the web design industry.

Think of Government as a big corporation that owns lots of web properties. The parallels are pretty clear, so assuming BigCo has minimal resources, how'd they spend it most efficiently? 1. Hire a small but critically talented team to run as creative design lead across all (major) properties. 2. Facilitate this team in organizing training events similar to web design & content strategy conferences. Offer only travel+accommodation ...more »

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6 votes
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