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The government's worst Web site gets a face lift

I returned from an overnight trip to New York -- more on that tomorrow -- to get a press release with this headline:
GSA Launches Refreshed Agency Web site
GSA.gov Improvements Focus on Easier Access to Products and Services

To that, I say thank goodness!

I'm plunking around on the new GSA.gov right now to see how easy things are to find. The former GSA Web site, in my humble opinion, was one of the worst in federal government Web sites out there. (I can feel the hate mail coming my way already!) They went to this portal concept, which just made everything almost impossible to find -- certainly impossible to find quickly. Unfortunately you will just have to take my word for it. The online archive doesn't have a version of it, for some reason.

I do have some data to back up my contention: The University of Michigan does quarterly rankings of the public's satisfaction with government Web sites and in the most recent review, GSA did not perform well. In fact, in the main home page category, GSA ranked dead last [.xls file]

Here is what GSA says in their release (which is not posted online yet):
"We have listened to our federal customer agencies, vendors who do business with GSA and citizens who look to GSA for vital information and we are responding to their needs for an easier way to find the products and services that GSA offers," stated GSA's Associate Administrator for Citizen Services and Communications M.J. Pizzella. "Whether they require an online self-service tool, specific reference information, or just the right phone number to call for personal assistance, these changes to gsa.gov allow us to get our visitors what they need quickly."

I'm sure there is some agency out there that has a worse Web site -- and I'd love to hear about them -- but for a agency as significant as GSA, I just always found it disappointing. So I'm looking forward to navigating around the new design... and I'd love to hear your comments as well about what you think.

Posted by Christopher Dorobek on Nov 02, 2005 at 12:15 PM


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