Shock report: 92 per cent of US government websites totally suck

Other news: Windows 10 not that great; Uber a little bit nasty

Recommendations

All of which leads ITIF report researchers to make some recommendations about how the situation can be improved.

All of them comprise the White House acting or putting out new requirements, and they are:

  • A series of website modernization "sprints" to fix known problems – a government hackathon in other words, although presumably that is not a word that will go down well in federal circles.
  • A federal mandate to meet page load speed requirements.
  • A requirement for websites to monitor and share website analytics – there is a Digital Analytics Program just for this sort of thing, but only 52 per cent of departments are currently using it.
  • A "website consolidation initiative" run by the OMB – not a bad idea since the White House could paint it as saving money and simplifying its citizens' lives.
  • Get Congress to "encourage" non-executive agencies and other branches of government to adopt federal standards – it should happen but it won't because, Congress.
  • A new capital fund for federal agencies to upgrade their IT – possibly as part of an infrastructure bill, President Trump?

All of which sounds like a solid pragmatic approach to what is a dull but important issue.

But to add some spice, here are the worst and the best federal websites. First the top five:

  • healthdata.gov
  • healthfinder.gov
  • consumerfinance.gov
  • whitehouse.gov (Trump administration)
  • usembassy.gov

It's worth noting that the top two are almost certainly thanks to the team of outside tech experts that President Obama brought in to fix the disastrous launch of Obamacare's online portal in 2013.

It's also worth noting that the Obama Administration's White House website came 55th in the list, where Trump's is 4th. Although there is almost nothing on the Trump website yet and it was a completely fresh install, so there hasn't been time to screw things up.

And the worst? The absolute pits? The devil-children of the federal government's online efforts?

  • usphs.gov – the federal government's doctors.
  • fmc.gov – the government's sea-based import/export arm.
  • osti.gov – rather embarrassingly, the research and development arm of the Department of Energy.
  • trade.gov – the trade administration, something that presumably Trump will be all over given his tendency to focus on the "great deals" he will cut with other countries.
  • ipcc-wg2.gov – a website so bad it is currently down. Why? Well, don't panic, but it is for a critical working group looking at climate change.

You can read the whole report online. ®

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