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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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

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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Usability and Design

Concentrate On Easy Navigation and Content - Not Graphics

It seems to me too much emphasis is being placed on looking pretty without actually offering an easy way to navigate to important pages or relevant content. Although a site doesn't want to look too dated can we go back to providing stuff people are looking for rather than huge, pretty graphics please?

Voting

31 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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Usability and Design

Organize by customer type then topic

I have an investment account with a firm whose website first asks if I'm an individual or a business. I have a savings account with a bank whose website first asks which country I live in and if I'm trying to do credit card, savings, checking, loans, etc. I looked up some medical information on the CDC website and it had separate areas for the general public and medical professionals that stemmed from the same page.... more »

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-2 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.

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10 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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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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Usability and Design

Interview Users Before Redesign Kickoff

Timing is everything. Doing user research (usability testing) after the redesign is too late in the process. Find what your target audience needs by conducting user interviews early in the project. Avoid learning what you have done wrong by the time is too late to fix it.

Voting

30 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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