Fed sites earn slightly higher marks

Survey says satisfaction with federal Web sites improves when they offer more opportunities for e-commerce

The University of Michigan's American Customer Satisfaction Index has released a report showing a slight improvement in citizen satisfaction with federal Web sites.

The greatest improvement was in the e-commerce and transactions category, which increased by 0.4 percent to 73.7 out of 100.

Despite the improvement, federal Web sites still score lower on the ACSI scale than private-sector Web sites. E-government earned ACSI scores 8.5 percent lower than private sector e-commerce sites, which garnered average ACSI marks of 80.

Satisfaction with federal Web sites improves when they offer more opportunities for online business transactions, ACSI analysts said.

For example, USA.gov, the federal government's official Web portal, offers more than 150 online transactions.

'The government recognizes that time-crunched Americans want to conduct business with the government when and where it's convenient for them,' said Bev Godwin, director of USA.gov. 'Self-service is a growing trend across industries, and we are making great strides towards addressing this need by focusing on the top tasks of our Web visitors.'

The main area listed for improvement was search, which was cited as an area that needs improvement in almost 90 percent of federal Web sites.

People need to be able to find what they're looking for if a Web site is going to be useful, said Larry Freed, president and CEO of ForeSee Results, a co-sponsor of the report. 'This is an especially tough challenge for portals and department sites because they provide access to such extensive amounts of information, often across multiple Web sites.'

The Social Security Administration and the National Institutes of Health earned top scores for several of their Web sites.

About the Author

Trudy Walsh is a senior writer for GCN.


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