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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Policies and Principles

Need coordinated teams of specialists vs. too few generalists

One thing I hate to see is agencies where the people managing the web don't have adequate teams and support, and may need training themselves but are spread so thin that they are forced to be generalists instead of specialists. The web should be staffed adequately, and employ modern technology (content management systems, anyone?), not be an afterthought in communication, PR and/or IT staffing needs. Sure, we need ...more »

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46 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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(@maria.marrero)

Usability and Design

Build in accessibility during the visual design phase.

Graphic designers should work closely with accessibility /508 experts before implementing a design into a website. Some accessibility issues can be avoided or/and fixed early during the visual design phase. For example, some of the principals that should be considered to make a design accessible are: Color contrast, use of CAPS, font size, heading structure, reading order, form controls. A great related resource: http://webaim.org/resources/designers/#infographic ...more »

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31 votes
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Policies and Principles

Accessibility Integration

Accessibility must be integrated into all aspects of online communication. From policy and training through design and implementation, the principle of equal access for people with disabilities must be recognized as a civil right that cannot be compromised.

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25 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 »

Voting

19 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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Beyond Websites (Mobile, Broadband...)

Create smooth cross-channel designs and analytics

Make it easy for users to access information regardless of which channel they use (web, chat, email, phone, smart phone apps, social media, etc.), and provide analytics that work across channels, keep track of what a user has already done, and find customized/personalized ways of providing excellence in customer service and presenting information.

Voting

10 votes
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(@carla.briceno)

Content in other languages

Don't Assume Content Developed in English Addresses all Needs

Many agencies and organizations provide information to multilingual / multicultural audiences by translating content that was developed in English without really understanding the needs of these audiences. I believe it's important to do your audience research and make sure you understand what information is needed first and then make the decisions as to how it will be provided, i.e., original content, transcreation, ...more »

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8 votes
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Usability and Design

Make .gov sites beautiful

It is right that so much of the emphasis in the ideas here speaks to ensuring usable, functional, easy-to-read sites. But I'd like to speak up for beauty a bit. Assuming they are also functional, I believe beautiful, carefully designed and crafted websites help people feel more confident in the agency or department they are dealing with. It helps them feel the site is current and modern. It can help them to feel that ...more »

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7 votes
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Accessibility

Accessibility at the browser level for those with disabilities

As the "war" over the best form of html continues it's clear there will be diverse forms of html employed for years to come. Developers are constantly working backwards, all from different perspectives to try to achieve accessibility for persons with disabilities. There are simply too many cooks in the kitchen. It seems to me that content accessbility is best addressed at the browser level because this is where specific ...more »

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4 votes
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Content and Readability

The federal billing website WAWF needs HUGE simplification

Our small business has recently become a required user of WAWF. I have found this system for vendor invoicing to be a NIGHTMARE! Another individual on this site has pointed out a series of problems with the site based on browsers supported, ActiveX requirement, etc. I agree with all of these comments, although I note that some or most have already been corrected. (I use Firefox to access WAWF, for example.) However, ...more »

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2 votes
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