Best government Web sites: MSPB E-Appeal
One way to tell if your site is successful is through the use of metrics, and the Merit Systems Protection Board's E-Appeal site can tout some great ones. Introduced in 2004, the site now is responsible for 29 percent of all the appeals made to the board, accounting for 1,763 of the 5,991 initial appeals.
The MSPB's mission is to offer a judicial decision process for federal government employees who want to appeal personnel actions taken by their employers.
The process previously involved submitting paperwork by mail or by hand. Because many people who file do so without legal aid, the process could be a bear. So MSPB set up a Web site that would allow appellants to easily submit materials and check the status of their cases via the Internet. Even better, the agency set up e-Appeal to work a bit like Intuit's TurboTax. Users, most of whom are unfamiliar with the appeals process, are taken though a step-by-step interview that is used to assemble the filing materials. A finalist in the 2008 Web Managers Best Practice Awards, the E-Appeal site shows how a Web site can be much more than a repository of information; it can actually help the visitor work through the task at hand.
Joab Jackson is the senior technology editor for Government Computer News.