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Making Great Government Web sites

Launch Best Practices for Government Web Sites

It's clear the Web will play a more central role in governing in the Obama administration. As President Obama took the oath of office, members of his staff were launching a new Web 2.0 savvy WhiteHouse.gov Web site. The administration also plans to give the public the online means to track how tax dollars are being spent in the economic stimulus plan with another site, Recovery.gov.

Because the Obama administration wants to revolutionize how it uses the Internet in the governing process, Nextgov thought it would be worthwhile to investigate what qualities make a good federal Web site. We spoke to Web experts, both working in academia and for the government. We read reports, surveys and studies on best practices, and, of course, we did a lot of Web browsing.

In the end, we picked five federal Web sites. These sites are not what we would consider to be the best of all federal Web sites -- though they certainly could give a number of others a run for their money -- but rather sites that employ what consultants say are best online practices. They don't all make use of the latest and greatest in Web 2.0 technology or sport cutting-edge designs, and that, we've learned, can be a good thing.

Each of the agencies responsible for these sites paid careful attention to what their users wanted to see and do online. While technology changes rapidly, striving to meet the needs of the public will always be the foundation for any great government Web site, online researchers told us.

We've highlighted here the ways NASA, Library of Congress, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Social Security Administration, and Transportation Security Administration have met the needs of their public customers. As always, please leave us comments on what your think by going to The Forum. We hope you enjoy the presentation.

Launch Best Practices for Government Web Sites

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