FirstGov searching for ideas

FirstGov

The General Services Administration is turning to agency Webmasters for suggestions on how to improve the FirstGov governmentwide portal.

Federal Webmasters received an e-mail request Dec. 13 to provide "suggestions and concerns with our search engine services" from the Office of FirstGov in GSA's Office of Governmentwide Policy.

"This will help us meet the high standards that you and your Web site visitors expect," the e-mail states. "We will weave your concerns and suggestions into our next round of procurement."

Earlier this month, GSA announced plans to redesign the portal to make it more eye-catching and customer-friendly, calling for a contractor to help conduct focus groups and usability tests to get ideas.

The portal is a text-based site that directs citizens to agency-run Web pages for information or services via links and search engine results from federal, state and local Web sites.

GSA also asked Webmasters to fill out an online questionnaire addressing more than 30 technical and policy issues.

The questions include how important it is for FirstGov to support document types other than HTML, Adobe Systems Inc.'s Portable Document Format and Microsoft Corp.'s Word, and how important it is to have access to reports on metrics, such as the frequency of search terms, frequency of access by link and average relevancy of selected links.

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