Rather than having to submit handwritten forms, wait 10 days, pay "copy and research fees" and ultimately be frustrated, put all public information online in a consistent and accessible format.
Content and Readability
What can we do to improve the content on federal websites to make it more readable, engaging, and useful?
Too often federal web sites are designed and managed as technical devices rather than channels for communication. Programs that sponsor web sites and web designers should be required to answer: who is the audience/end user and what do we know about their needs and wants? Then the program can decide if there is a clear purpose, what the content will be and how it will be presented. Best if they do that using a participatory ...more »
Require all law enforcement agencies to post public content on one consolidated website. Information should be sorted by location/zip code, but this website would be used to post all Amber Alerts, Terrorist Alerts, and other information that the public or local/state law enforcement agencies (who also would have a role in the system) can use.
Eliminate the endless page downs through paragraphs, lines and linked URLs that were common web page designs from the early 1990s. These are neither user-friendly nor engaging and serve to bury information for all but the most intrepid.
When jobs are listed on USAJOBS please list the qualification requirements and pay scales in language that non-military and current non-governmental people can understand, or provide links or mouse-overs that provide a basic explination of requirements. Also, add a mandatory reply system. Applicants are notified that their resumes are accepted, but there is zero follow up when it comes to whether or not the person is ...more »
Time is limited for everyone who reads online materials. If content is produced in terms the lay person easily understands, engagement can follow with links. Transparency of government will engage citizens, but engagement fades with cluttered, jumbled websites full of specialized jargon. Set up links to more "in depth" information, instead of overloading the introductory page. Hire professional communication people. ...more »
Avoid wasted introductory language such as "Welcome to the XXXX website" and mission statements on home pages. Let people get down to business quickly.
Create better content that is relevant, timely and actionable -- how does it affect people? Federal agencies are so huge compared with the local social services or zoning offices, so people want to know what's in it for them.
Wanna save $? Use free technology, save the remainder that you would've spent on licenses and SLAs and instead spend a fraction of it on cheap hosting, proper support, staffing and training.
Oh, and then let your programmers contribute the modules they build to the community for re-use.
When content is posted, users should be able to vote and comment on that content - similar to how things work on Idea Scale. This would allow content creators a quick way of evaluating and refining their material.
Government websites need content strategy guidelines for best practices so there will be people trained and dedicated to the content process who can ensure accuracy, quality, and a workflow to getting good content created, approved and published in a way that meets the needs of the users. Content must be collaborated on and the process of content creation needs management so that standards can improve, the websites can ...more »
The value of a web site is not only its content but in ease of accessibility and movement throughout the site. There is nothing more frustrating than to maneuver unsuccessfully and waste precious time in the process.