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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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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Services and Transactions

Less content, More services

Focus more on enabling task completion from start-to-finish online. Recruit developers who are "get" public policy, have the skills and freedom to experiment, and give them the tools to create.

Barring emergencies, there is virtually no content that's left to be created. Let's refine the existing content, manage the creation of new content, and put some muscle into online services.

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21 votes
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(@andrewpwilson)

Accessibility

Establish Mechanisms to Allow for Virtual Advisory Boards

Receiving ongoing feedback from key stakeholder communities, in a transparent manner, could significantly improve the quality of the content. For example, more systematized, direct engagement with disabled users could help not only improve compliance but actually address the more fundamental issue of usability. This approach could be used for other issues including Low English Proficiency/ Multilingual content and the ...more »

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11 votes
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Content and Readability

Create a USANews website for all agency news

One frustration web managers have had from the beginning is the tug for space on the home page. Public affairs offices often want to use that "front page" for press releases and administration news, while web managers and usability experts know customers expect to find and start using top tasks on the home page. Maybe the answer is to give public affairs offices - and customers - one source for agency news. Create ...more »

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11 votes
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Content and Readability

Syndicate Content to Create Consistency Across the Nation

For every federal program that is carried out on the local level, there are at least 50 states who replicate that content and thousands of counties who do so as well. Rather than so many descriptions of, say, SNAP [old food stamp program], provide local agencis with the basics in syndicated format -- and written in plain language -- that they can integrate into their pages. CDC does some of this already.

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11 votes
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Policies and Principles

multi-agency websites & teams to consolidate topics and services

To consolidate a few themes here: - we need more specialists, but can't always afford them as individual agencies - we need to share resources in order to afford them, especially specialized skills - we need to focus on creating content and sites around shared mission, topics and services - we need fewer domains and sites - we need to do all of this while saving money, e.g. not always leaning on expensive consultants ...more »

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9 votes
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(@leila0)

Content and Readability

Market and promote your content/services -have a marketing plan

Govt should get better at marketing and promoting its content and services available online through traditional means as well as through new media channels. There should be a marketing plan in place before launching a new initiative or effort online. It shouldn't be an after-thought. There is good govt info out there but sometimes nobody knows about it. Let's develop relationships with the media, bloggers, etc...and let's ...more »

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9 votes
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Content in other languages

Ensure high quality translation of website content

In those cases where web content is translated, be sure that the translation is of a high quality to be culturally appropriate and understandable to a broad audience of speakers of various dialects and from various national backgrounds. Poor quality translations result in users avoiding using a website at all or if they are bilingual they may switch to English even if they would have preferred the other language. When ...more »

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9 votes
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Policies and Principles

People, process, technology

Be sure to include your organization's mission and a vision. PEOPLE: Hire competent people Hire passionate, caring people Hire meticulous, attentive people Consider users ages Consider users knowledge level Consider users patience level PROCESS: Establish your site's purpose Decide on how you will achieve this purpose (Push-Pull of data/information/knowledge) Create a simple, navigable structure Mind the taxonomy: ...more »

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8 votes
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Policies and Principles

Notice of Copyright Terms and Conditions of Use for Govt. Web

Most government websites (and govt. publications for that matter) do a poor job of identifying copyrighted content. People assume that if it is a government website the material is in the public domain - however much content can, and often is, copyrighted material with restrictions on further reuse. The burden is on the user to determine if the material is copyrighted - a time-consuming and often confusing task (I do ...more »

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8 votes
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