Social Security Websites Lead in Satisfaction, Treasury Trails

Social Security Administration websites that allow users to apply for and calculatetheir benefits online and to find extra help paying for Medicare prescription drug plan costs topped a quarterly user satisfaction survey of government websites released Tuesday.

Specialty websites generally topped the list with departments' and agencies' main sites ranking lower. The top-ranking agency and department sites on the list were for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association and the U.S. Navy.

The lowest ranking main agency and department websites were for the Treasury Department, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Food and Drug Administration and, ironically, the Social Security Administration.

The information was gathered from voluntary surveys by randomly selected visitors to the sites, according to a digest of the results. Survey questions focused on the sites' navigability and functionality and how well the sites' search functions worked.

Web users filled out about 330,000 surveys on 110 government websites.

The survey company then converted those raw answers into a 100-point satisfaction scale.

The report was commissioned by the agencies through the Federal Consulting Group, a fee-for-service operation inside the Interior Department, and conducted by ForeSee Results, a private survey company.

The average score for all government websites was around 75. That score has generally risen from about 71 when the survey was first conducted in 2003.

The highest-ranking sites scored around 90, beating out top private websites measured with the same metrics. Amazon and Netflix, for instance, scored 87 and 86 respectively, the survey company said.

The lowest-ranking government websites scored between 57 and 67 points.