Recalls.gov has design flaws that make it difficult to use, a review of the site by the Center for Effective Government says. The page for recent recalls, for example, is divided into sections for nine different categories such as motor vehicles, meats and boats. Each occupies a small square with its own scroll bar to navigate a thin column that includes details about the recalls.
As the federal government reopened Oct. 17, agency and department websites went back online and new media and public affairs officials took to social media to announce their return.
Insufficient funds for the new fiscal year caused the much of the federal government to close on Oct. 1. In addition to somewhere between one-third and half of federal employees being furloughed, many federal websites are also on a hiatus. The response from federal web managers, however, appears inconsistent.
Usability.gov prides itself on being a resource for agencies to research best practices for enhancing mobile and web user experience. So, when its redesign was unveiled in early July, usability.gov took its own advice in rethinking its user interface.
A government website outage that lasted for hours the morning of Aug. 14 was likely caused by a failure to update a cryptographic key necessary for DNSSEC, says cybersecurity researcher Johannes Ullrich.
Two General Services Administration officials recently sat down with FierceGovernmentIT to discuss their efforts to help agencies improve their digital presence and better serve citizens. Sheila Campbell, director of the center for excellence in digital government, and Jonathan Rubin, First Fridays usability program manager, explained GSA's web usability testing services as well as ways it's institutionalizing lessons learned through blog posts and training.
In an effort to improve its website, the Internal Revenue Service launched short projects to deliver interactive tools and longer-term projects to improve foundational infrastructure, but it has no overarching strategy for its website, says the Government Accountability in an April 16 report (.pdf).
The Consumer Product Safety Commission uses a variety of outreach channels to bring visitors to saferproducts.gov, but hasn't done enough to assess who users are and how best to serve them, finds a Government Accountability Office report (.pdf) published March 11.
The NTIA requires registrants have a connection--a "U.S. nexus"--with America, such as a bona fide presence or residence. Current policy also prohibits private registration, requiring registrant contact info to be listed in the WHOIS database. The.us suffix has gained little online traction, having a market share within the United States smaller than.info, according to data from Webhosting.info.
A team that tests federal websites for usability says in a Dec. 28 blog post that they found four main problems in 2012. In 2012, the HowTo.gov team conducted 26 tests on federal websites, intranets and other services. Six managed to make improvements within 30 days of the test, the blog post says: Search.usa.gov, FedRAMP, NASA's mobile site, Regulations.gov, OMB Max and SAM.gov.