Opinion: The Good and The Bad of US Federal Website UX – VA and SSA covered

“… Most federal websites do better than most private sector companies at avoiding common missteps like 1) showing a large banner image that fills most of the home page, requiring users to scroll excessively to find information or 2) littering navigational tab and link names with internal jargon.

Visit the home pages of the Social Security Administration (SSA), Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), or Bureau of Consular Affairs websites, and you’ll notice government websites do two things particularly well:

  • Elevate the most important services the agency provides. For example, the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page has large calls to action to get a passport, find international travel information, and get US visas.
  • Speak in terms customers understand. For example, the VA website uses action-oriented labeling such as “Refill and track your prescriptions” to direct users to four categories of top tasks.

What Federal Agencies Get Wrong: Content Is Clear But Overwhelming

Content on federal websites is generally written in words customers understand. That’s not surprising, given standards in place thanks to resources like Digital.gov and the Plain Language Action and Information Network (PLAIN). But despite efforts to be clear, users reported feeling overwhelmed by the amount of information. Even the sites that fared best in our review stumbled when it comes to writing concisely and establishing a clear content hierarchy. Common missteps included:

  • Creating an experience that feels “cluttered.” As one user said of the VA website, “The site was cluttered and looked like it had been designed by a… Read the full article here.

Source: The Good And The Bad Of US Federal Website UX – By Gina Bhawalkar, February 24, 2020. Forrester Blog.

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