USASpending.gov slammed for sloppy design

Lack of Section 508 compliance, improper visualization plagues OMB site, consultant argues

Although the Office of Management and Budget holds up USASpending.gov as an example of how the Web can provide greater transparency into government operations, the site also has a number of serious shortcomings that limit its effectiveness, according to Seth Grimes, a data management and analysis systems consultant for Washington-based Alta Plana Corp.

Among the site's problems are noncompliance with federal Section 508 requirements, which call for electronic and information technology to be made accessible to people with disabilities, incorrect graphics and an unresponsiveness on the part of the site's Web management team, Grimes wrote in a blog posting on the Intelligent Enterprise site.

"The federal government's USAspending.gov Web site is a travesty, almost a parody of a government-transparency site," Grimes writes. "[I]t's old-school, a mockery of Gov 2.0 principles of interactivity and responsiveness and community."

The General Services Administration manages USASpending.gov, which was created to show the public how its tax dollars were being spent.

About the Author

Joab Jackson is the senior technology editor for Government Computer News.

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Reader Comments

Sat, Sep 5, 2009

I guess the website is very effective, then, as it shows how our taxpayer dollars are spent: on incompetence.

Sat, Sep 5, 2009

I'll tell you another thing, it's not just the user interface that's bad on the site. The XML APIs are terrible, and crash half the time when you try to mine data from the site. The data quality is terrible, especially on the IT Dashboard, where most of the IT projects do not have any contractor data listed. Also, you can't search the IT Dashboard by contractor, why is that?

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