Web metrics is hot topic for publishers

Web metrics is hot topic for publishers

When the Federal Publishers Committee planned its session last month on evaluating Web sites, organizers made room for 60 or so people. They got more than 90.

'We had no idea,' committee program chair Sandy Smith said. 'It was posted on a couple of list servers,' she said, but the committee hadn't promoted it more heavily than any other of its monthly meetings.

But if the subject is providing services via the Web, word apparently gets around. 'Anything we've presented about Web sites has been very popular,' said Glenn W. King, a committee board member and chief of the Census Bureau's Statistical Compendia Branch. King said the session was among the committee's most popular in years.

The centerpiece of the session was a presentation on performing a Web site usability study by Gerri Michael Dyer, electronic dissemination adviser for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

Dyer addressed topics ranging from Web site design to identifying user needs to testing a site. She also mentioned a challenge familiar to Web site designers, the 'Law of All,' which states, 'Everyone's information is more important than everyone else's and deserves more prominence.'

Smith, who is a public affairs officer at the National Center for Health Statistics, said one of the benefits of the committee's sessions is the networking opportunity it provides. 'One of the things we hope happens at FPC is that it's a forum for people who are working on [similar] projects,' she said.

The committee, an interagency group of publishers, editors and printing specialists, holds its sessions each month at the Government Printing Office.

'Kevin McCaney


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