Campaign: Content and Readability

Plain language on government websites

Too much of the information on federal websites is poorly written and is too complex, especially for the web. Content managers need to pay more attention to the clarity of information. Most federal web content is covered by the Plain Writing Act of 2010, but transforming federal material into plain language will be a major challenge, especially since the underlying paper-based information is poorly written.

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225 votes
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Campaign: Services and Transactions

Create content around topics/customers - not agencies

Customers don't know - and don't care to know - how government is organized. So why make them go from agency (website) to agency (website) to get the full picture of what govt has to offer them on any subject? Why make them go through a long list of links on USA.gov? Why not get agencies together around content topics or customer groups(owning a home, sending kids to college, services for seniors, contractors) and ...more »

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160 votes
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Campaign: Policies and Principles

Make usability testing and 508 testing required PRIOR to launch

Launching sites without usability testing and 508 testing is a waste of time and money - it's always more expensive to fix these issues when left to the last minute. Rather, institutionalizing user testing (like GSA's First Fridays, for example) as well as 508 testing into the development cycle of government websites will result in better, more efficient and cheaper products .

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139 votes
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Campaign: Policies and Principles

Make Government Website Mobile Accessible

Every government webiste should be able to be accessed via a mobile devices whether by citizens or government employees.

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121 votes
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Campaign: Content and Readability

PDFs cannot be preferred publishing methods

When it comes to content, the easiest thing for us to do as Federal agencies is publish a PDF. Some of the most informative documents on agency web sites are things like their strategic plans, their reports to Congress, their budget justifications, etc. Too often, in the interest of speed of publication, the pages with this type of information become document farms for 100+ page PDFs. These are information-rich documents ...more »

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114 votes
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Campaign: 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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Campaign: Services and Transactions

Simplify Online Services

Help citizens quickly perform transactions & use online services via simple, secure web forms that walk citizens through each step of the process. Some considerations are: - Identify the steps involved for front end users in completing online transactions - Optimize each step of the workflow (user creates an account, validates account, fills out form, submits form). Where to put instructions? How many fields are optimal? ...more »

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84 votes
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Campaign: Policies and Principles

Needed: Web manager for **every** site

The problem of not knowing who is in charge of a website should not exist. Every site should have a web manager who has ultimate control over the content of that site, and who people should contact in terms of needing posts, edits, etc. It shouldn't be a mystery. While we're at it, it might not hurt to have content leads listed at the bottom of each page as well, as well as the date last updated.

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79 votes
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Campaign: 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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Campaign: Policies and Principles

Discontinue Usage of IE6

IE6 is extremely buggy and outdated. It is increasingly more and more difficult to design websites with IE6 in mind. There is no good reason why one should be using IE6 15 years after it was created.

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69 votes
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Campaign: Policies and Principles

Find ways for agencies to work together

Create a central resource for all agency web teams to communicate, share code, establish conventions, and learn from one another. Then put a premium on making agency systems interoperable (probably through APIs because unification on a single platform is a pipe-dream). With agencies working together to establish conventions, the building and maintenance of federal websites would be far more efficient, enabling a reduction ...more »

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65 votes
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Campaign: Content and Readability

Create a federal website content strategy

I'm reading a lot of terrific ideas here, but they are all proposed TACTICS. Without a unifying content strategy, these tactics will inevitably be taken on as one-off efforts, which result in the same inconsistencies and redundancies that exist today. Over the years, we have all attempted to “fix” our content with visual rebrands, website redesigns, new CMS technology, rewrites, and other tactical approaches. None of ...more »

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65 votes
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