Federal Webmasters get online kit

An Internet site advising federal Webmasters on best content practices and compulsory government regulations is set to go live Sept. 29.

A result of the Interagency Committee on Government Information's Web Content Standards Working Group, webcontent.gov will advise content managers on a number of features that must and should found on every agency portal.

Recommended features include a Contact Us page with phone numbers, an About Us page, a user index, frequently asked questions and an overall focus on providing as many services online as possible. For example, agencies should prominently display links to forms, publications and job information.

"It's a Web site delivered for Web content managers, delivered by Web content managers. That's really our mantra," said Sheila Campbell, senior content manager of FirstGov.

Federal Web sites should share some common traits so users know they are accessing a government site and can find what they are looking for, according to earlier recommendations released by the working group.

Office of Management and Budget officials will rule by the end of this year whether the working group's recommendations will become compulsory, Campbell said.

Additional features will be added to webcontent.gov, possibly including an Extensible Markup Language (XML) registry, Campbell added.

The benefits of XML could be immediately tangible. If all Contact Us pages are tagged the same way, "ultimately, you could roll that up into a governmentwide contact directory," Campbell said. The Web content working group is collaborating with other Interagency Committee on Government Information committees on the matter, Campbell said.

About the Author

David Perera is a special contributor to Defense Systems.

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