Government website UX lags behind public sector, surprising nobody

People are increasingly using other methods to communicate with the feds, as the use of government websites decrease.

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The user experience of websites operated by the US federal government pale in comparison to non-governmental websites, with 61% of respondents indicating that "dealing with the federal government to obtain information is far more of a hassle than dealing with a non-government entity," according to a survey published Monday by Booz Allen Hamilton, a government contractor that—among other activities—provides IT services.

In 2019, to date, only 70% of respondents had used federal government websites, a decrease of 8% from 2018. Contact through every other means of communication increased—38% of respondents used mail services to obtain information, compared to 24% in 2018, with 33% sending emails so far in 2019, compared to 21% in 2018. In-person contact increased to 26% this year, compared to 14% the year prior, while phone calls saw the slowest growth, at 26% in 2019, an 8% increase from the previous year.

SEE: Mastermind con man behind Catch Me If You Can talks cybersecurity (free pdf) (TechRepublic)

Primary complaints of government websites note a disparity between the mobile-friendliness between public and private sector websites, with 63% indicating that public sector websites are mobile friendly, compared to only 45% for government websites. Mobile navigation for government websites is vital to ensuring equitable access for all users, as a report from the Brookings Institution indicates 35% of Hispanics and 24% of African-Americans "have no other online connection except through their smartphones or other mobile devices."

The margin for ease of finding information and ease of navigation is 21% and 19% lower for government websites, respectively, with 58% of respondents indicating it takes longer to accomplish tasks on government websites. 

Despite the low marks for usability, public sentiment for higher security on government websites is slightly higher, with respondents trusting the government to be better equipped to secure websites and personal information. 61% of respondents are optimistic that "the federal government is improving its digital experience."

For more, check out "How to avoid .JSE ransomware that hit the Texas government" and "Famous con man turned cybersecurity expert urges credit freezing" on TechRepublic.

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Image: iStock/tupungato