The dirty dozen: 12 bad government Web sites

A gallery of government portals that deliver a bad user experience

The White House’s Open Government Directive, issued in December 2009, mandated that federal departments and agencies develop and implement open government plans to advance transparency of their data and encourage participation and collaboration. Since then, agencies have been rolling out everything from new wikis to redesigned Web sites to IT dashboards to comply with the directive and make government data more accessible.

But not all open government Web sites are created equal; some, in fact, deliver a downright awful user experience, according to Information Week's list of the 12 worst government Web sites.

The IW dirty dozen Web portals belong to:

Army Special Operations Command

National Transportation Safety Board

U.S. Court Of Appeals D.C. Circuit

City of Los Angeles 

U.S. Transportation Command 

House  Small Business Committee

The nation of Cambodia

The state of Illinois

Justice Department's Executive Office for Immigration Review

Navy Personnel Command

The Federal Register

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Services

To view Information Week's slide show of the 12 worst government Web sites, click here.

This article was corrected July 7, 2010.


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Reader comments

Fri, Jan 21, 2011 Maria M

I am looking for the website criteria that all these sites were reviewed under. Slideshow appears to be the journalist/editor's subjective comments rather than a true, objective analysis.....

Mon, Jul 26, 2010 William

Federal Computing... looks like some of the sites on the list... "People who live in glass houses should not throw stones"!

Fri, Jul 9, 2010 Public Servant

Cheap shot Mr. Hoover. I suspect that InformationWeek commits more resources (staff and funding) than all of the Federal agencies cited combined and provides at best only a marginally better user experience. FCW congratulations for tying in the Open Government Directive that is tangentially relevant to only some of the web sites in the original story.

Thu, Jul 8, 2010 Responsible Government

Wow, Didn't know that the Open Government Directive was a style guide. Looking at the National Transportation Safety Board's Open.Gov site at one finds a wealth of information. For example, you can view archived Board Meetings, Hearings and Public Forums. Agency data such as Aviation Accident statistics and Accident Recommendation Acceptance Rates are available for download. You can also query the agency's Safety Recommendation database and find out when Aviation Accident investigations are nearing completion. There is also a link to a long list of accident dockets across a number of transportation modes. While it may not be the most stylish site it does convey a wealth of data and information relevant to the agency's mission. I hope the media is not trumpeting style over substance.

Thu, Jul 8, 2010 Law-Dawg DC

Just a point of illumination on the Federal Register site. Yes, it does have an old fashioned user interface. But the GPO Access service and its Federal Register web pages are being retired in September of this year. The website that will replace it has been available as a public beta since January 2009. It's called the Federal Digital System,, and it was named one of GCN's picks for "Great dot-gov Web Sites," July 27, 2009.

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