Survey shows people prefer using PCs, Web portals to contact agencies

More members of the public prefer to interact with agencies via government Web portals accessed on their personal computers than any other channel, according to a new survey by IDC Government Insights.

The PC/Web portal interaction was the top choice of 36 percent of respondents, and it beat all other forms of interaction, including mail, telephone, e-mail, in person and mobile, the Sept. 12 survey states.

The company surveyed 2,048 people. Portions of the results are available for free at IDC’s website.

Surprisingly, survey respondents preferred accessing federal Web portals via mobile devices less than 1 percent of the time, according to an article at

However, IDC forecast rapid growth for mobile communications.

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“IDC Government Insights predicts that personal computers will remain a top choice for interactions that require information-rich experiences as well as for filling out forms that can be lengthy and complex, but that smart mobile devices, including tablets, will rapidly become the top choice of citizen interaction,” IDC officials said in a press release. “The company believes that the trend will evolve as government websites and search functions are redesigned for mobile devices.”

FierceGovernmentIT reported that interaction via mail was the top choice of 19 percent of respondents, while 17 percent preferred telephone calls, 14 percent preferred e-mail, and 12 percent preferred in-person communication.

Although federal agencies are currently focusing on open government, that focus will evolve to smart government in the coming years, with tools for optimizing citizen information and services, said Adelaide O'Brien, a research director at IDC Government Insights, in a statement.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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Reader comments

Tue, Sep 13, 2011 CJ

I'd venture the survey skew is pretty steep here because of the portals themselves. Web portals with "good" mobile presentation layers (e.g. twitter) do a lot better ON mobile platforms. I can get all the Google Maps information I want on my iPhone - but I can't use it to manage my wireless account through the providers website, because the site isn't designed for mobilie access...(???)

Tue, Sep 13, 2011

I think most people prefer a web site on an actual PC, because to talk to a human, you have to go through a Byzantine phone menu tree, and/or deal with a clueless Tier 1 help desk. Not like the old days when a human actually ansewered the phone, or (in large cities, at least) there was an actual office with a customer service counter where you could walk in.

Tue, Sep 13, 2011 Patuxent River, MD

>Surprisingly, survey respondents >preferred accessing federal Web portals >via mobile devices less than 1 percent >of the time... It's not surprising at all if the portals don't work right on the mobile devices. My Library's web site shows up as a tiny version of the full size screen on a PC system. Try clicking a pixel size box! Now smartphones can expand it, But my phone doesn't have a touchscreen so I am out of luck.

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