GSA's fed website tutorials rack up $1.3M in agency savings

GSA's First Fridays program helps agencies build customer-focused websites that help the public get information and save agencies money.

Anyone who’s spent time on federal government websites knows that each site has its own distinctive look and feel and provides different ways for citizens to access information, post comments and get their questions answered. Sometimes the websites' differences in navigation and usability can create confusion and frustration, even among federal employees.

GSA conducts First Friday website usability testing

So two years ago this week the General Services Administration began an innovative program called First Fridays, conducting best-practice testing for federal websites through user surveys, trials with federal employees and website evaluations. The aim was to evaluate and streamline government websites and help agencies save money in the process.

First Fridays focuses on customer-service websites designed to help the public get the information they need from the government. This GSA program shows other federal agencies how to test and analyze their own websites to better serve site visitors.

To date, First Fridays has conducted more than 45 tests involving all cabinet agencies, saving over $1.3 million in avoided costs. The program has also coached agencies on how to quickly spot user problems and solve them, most of which can be implemented within 30 days, according to GSA.

The program also has spawned six spin-off teams at other agencies, including the Government Accountability Office and the Transportation Department. All told, almost 800 participants and volunteers have experienced First Fridays’ simple, yet effective way to make the Web work better.

For more information go to howto.gov/firstfridays.

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