Best government Web sites: CDC.gov
Home pages for entire agencies are difficult to design and manage. An agency's mission is varied and visitors come looking for a wide variety of information and services.
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CDC keeps a tight focus on visitor needs. The site offers a help page, complete with audio assistance, for navigating the site's many resources, such as health information on everything from workplace conditions to the aging process. Users can adjust the text size or choose to read the pages in one of 10 languages.
And CDC is all over Web 2.0: It recently released a data and statistics widget, a colorful mini-program that can be embedded on other Web sites. It displays graphs of some of CDC's more surprising statistics.
And taking a tip from the diseases it tracks, CDC has also jumped into spreading its material virally, through its Health e-Cards. These are electronic cards you can send to friends with safety messages, covering topics from fireworks safety to diabetes control. Recently, the site won the Web Content Managers Advisory Council's third annual Web Manager Best Practice Award, a prize awarded for sites that make it easy for visitors to complete their most important tasks online. 'They do a lot of user-testing,' said Sheila Campbell, head of the council. 'It's an important part of their management process.'
Joab Jackson is the senior technology editor for Government Computer News.