Health sites spur satisfaction

American Customer Satisfaction Index

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Public satisfaction with government Web sites has increased slightly this quarter in the latest rankings from the University of Michigan’s American Customer Satisfaction Index.

The index’s newest poll of public users of a multitude of federal Web sites indicates an aggregate satisfaction score of 72.6 on a scale of 100, up from 71.9 during the last quarter.

Even slight improvements in satisfaction are significant considering consumers’ fast-moving expectations, poll analysts say. The score increased partly because several highly rated sites were included for the first time.

Health-related government Web sites lead the pack. Eight of the 10 most highly rated sites are operated by the National Institutes of Health; NIH sites also constitute the bulk of new additions to the survey.

The rise in quarterly results halts what had been a slight downward trend in public satisfaction.

Two of the perennial drag factors continue to cause frustration among the public, however. Navigation is the single lowest-scoring element and 43 percent of respondents said navigation is their top priority. Likewise, search engines continue to score low, although their satisfaction numbers increased by 1.3 percent, to 73.

Content received a stellar score of 79 -- but content is a high-priority element for only 3 percent of poll respondents.

“This doesn’t mean that site owners shouldn’t worry about keeping their content fresh and relevant,” said Larry Freed, chief executive officer of ForeSee Results, which co-sponsored the E-Government Satisfaction Index.

But it does mean that content updating shouldn’t be the sole focus. “After all, if people can’t find the content, due to sub par search and navigation, the content provides little value.”

About the Author

David Perera is a special contributor to Defense Systems.

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