GAO site gets a facelift

The Government Accountability Office’s redesigned home page will increase the site’s usability and address complaints users had about the old interface, the agency said today.

“We recognized we needed to make some changes,” said Howard Williams, director at GAO’s Web Services Group. “A common theme that we got far too often was that it was difficult to navigate.”

The new home page features a series of tabs linking to reports, testimony, legal decisions and comptroller general presentations. A large box in the center of the page directs viewers to the most recent reports, which are organized chronologically.

This tabbed approach will be better for users since it is more organized and similar to many popular searchable sites, Williams said. GAO also made an effort to better explain the agency's purpose up front, he added.

A large gray box at the top of the page explains GAO's mission and that the agency is known as the “investigative arm of Congress” and the “people’s watchdog.” GAO reports are often a primary source for news articles about the federal government.

Overall the agency has done a good job of using electronic media for disseminating information, said Ari Schwartz, deputy director at the Center for Democracy and Technology. The agency has also been good about trying to get its information out fast and to a wide audience, he said.

“We want people to come to the source, and we provide our material as soon as it gets released that same day,” Williams said.

About the Author

Ben Bain is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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