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Will Fixing Va.gov be Digital Team's First Priority?

The Department of Veterans Affairs is one of the first federal agencies to have its own in-house digital service squad. But the small team of coders and designers clearly has more work to do: The agency's main website placed dead last in a recent survey of federal websites. 

VA’s score of 56 out of 100 points indicates website visitors were dissatisfied with its services, and the site has “much room for improvement,” according to the ForeSee E-Government Satisfaction Index.

The report showcased satisfaction scores for 100 different federal websites after collecting hundreds of thousands of responses in the fourth quarter of 2014. The company has been surveying the public on its perceptions of federal websites for nearly 12 years. 

Despite VA's failings, the average satisfaction with federal websites overall actually inched up to 75.1 points. That's an improvement -- although only slightly -- over the previous quarter’s 75 points.

Average satisfaction with federal websites has improved by five points overall since 2003, according to the study.

The fairly limited growth in satisfaction may be the result of the increased expectations citizens have for federal agency websites, according to the study.

“They expect a consistent message and for you to be available to them anytime, from anywhere, on any device,” the report stated. “Your customers are on a journey, and you need to gauge how you are delivering on those high expectations every step of the way.”

Some federal agency websites are able to meet those higher standards.

Two Social Security Administration websites -- an online guide to Medicare prescription drug plans and a retirement calculator -- led the pack at 90 points and 89 points, respectively. 

As for most improved, the main Internal Revenue Service portal took first place, which garnered 72 points -- an increase of 15 points compared to the previous quarter. 

Another bright spot? Members of the public appear to be happier with the federal Web presence than they are with the government generally. Overall, public satisfaction with the federal government hit about 64 points, according to last year’s American Customer Satisfaction Index.

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