Federal Agencies

U.S. Government Websites 'Fail to Meet Basic Standards,' New Report Says

92 percent of the most popular federal government websites just don't work as they should.

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Government is bad websites we all build together
Lorna/Dreamstime.com

The U.S. government's most-used websites almost universally "fail to meet basic standards for security, speed, mobile friendliness, or accessibility," according to a new report issued by the nonprofit public policy organization Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) — a group which the University of Pennsylvania ranks as the top science and technology think tank in the United States (and second in the world).

ITIF's report is built on thorough analysis of 297 of the federal governement's most popular websites (out of the more than 6,000 sites currently operated by the feds).

The report's lead author Alan McQuinn said in a statement, "Despite years of progress in digital government, a striking number of federal websites do not even meet many of the U.S. government's own requirements, let alone private-sector best practices." McQuinn added, "Considering that many constituents rely on federal websites to interact with government, it is incumbent upon the new administration, supported by Congress, to make websites more convenient, accessible, and secure."

The report makes a number of recommendations of action for the Trump administration, including that government agencies be required to maintain websites which — at the very least — meet the government's own "standards and best practices;" for the Office of Budget Management (OMB) to "launch a website consolidation initiative" to get rid of "duplicative or unnecessary websites;" and for the White House to "launch a series of website modernization 'sprints' to fix known problems with the most popular government websites."

Read ITIF's entire report here, and check out Ira Stoll's great Reason column, "Why Government Websites Cost More and Perform Worse Than Private Sector Websites."

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  1. I was trying to use the System for Award Management site the other day and i started having flashbacks to 1998. I’m pretty sure that site is optimized for Netscape 6.

    1. Pretty sure i saw a dancing baby gif on the home page.

    2. New report says governments are run by retards.

  2. “Considering that many constituents rely on federal websites to interact with government, it is incumbent upon the new administration, supported by Congress, to make websites more convenient, accessible, and secure.”

    Yeah there they go, Vroom

  3. government agencies be required to maintain websites which ? at the very least ? meet the government’s own “standards and best practices;” So their on par then

  4. Tried to go to a government site, said I needed a GENIE account.

  5. Try to get on a Social Security web page just to find out information. Half the time you can’t. It’s like they didn’t think that a program that applies to 320 million people just might get a wee bit of traffic, and to plan for it.

    1. +1 healthcare.gov rollout

    2. Or maybe, just maybe, they don’t give a fuck if people want to access it. I mean, what are people going to do, switch to a different compulsory ponzi scheme?

      1. Fucking incentives, how do they work?

  6. Actually, I find the Social Security site quite easy to navigate, and I’m close enough to getting my money back that I visit there occasionally. But I suspect none of them are ‘accessible’ in the way we were talking about a day or so ago. Costs too much damn money.

    1. You’re not getting your money back.

  7. as Joel said I’m alarmed that some people can get paid $8414 in a few weeks on the internet . visit this site right here…………. {{{{{ http://www.cash-review.com }}}}}

  8. as Joel said I’m alarmed that some people can get paid $8414 in a few weeks on the internet . visit this site right here…………. {{{{{ http://www.cash-review.com }}}}}

  9. Tony, Mike Hin, and Palin’
    Any comments on this article cursing your place of employment?

  10. Most private websites fail to meet basic standards too. I swear all those precious identitarian snowflakes the universities are pumping out are going straight in to “web development”.

  11. I hate college websites. Those are the biggest clusterfuck. Especially state schools.

    Turns out, gov sites have no competition. What are you gonna do, bitch, go to the other DMV?

  12. I would say that government web sites meet 100% of the constituents goals. I mean, government workers are the constituency of the government, aren’t they? Didn’t the web site developers get paid?

  13. section508.gov is pretty far down the list LOL.

    I see several web sites I worked on in my last job. A few of them are at the top end of the scores.

  14. I find it ironic that Reason is talking about bad web design and I see two trivially-detectable spam comments just above this.

    (Ironically, if you read the report, they say the .gov sites beat the private sector on security, though I think that’s mostly “by having good SSL and sometimes DNSSEC”.

    Of course, SSL only matters when sending sensitive data; a purely informational site has no need of it.)

    1. One easily (?) fixable flaw of the Reason site is to allow users to be shown the full titles of the previous and next articles by hovering their mouse over them. In this thread, for instance, the previous article (below) is “Europeans Reconsidering V” (eh, what?), and the next article is “Grand Jury Clears Five Ne”. Neither is clear enough to tempt me to click on it. This has been the case for a long time. I’ve been intrigued, but hardly ever clicked.

  15. 92 percent of the most popular federal government websites just don’t work as they should.

    Well this is disturbing but not particularly surprising. What does worry me about this news is that if the trend continues at its present rate I could easily see it surpassing the percentage of federal government programs that just don’t work as they should..

  16. I remember when I was in the Army having to log onto some site I had to manually make a browser exception because the cert was perpetually invalid. Just the fucking worst

  17. New and Improved by the people that gave us “HealthCare.gov” most likely.

  18. Well! bad news! I find the Social Security site quite easy to navigate, and I’m close enough to getting my money back that I visit there occasionally. But I suspect none of them are ‘accessible’ in the way we were talking about a day or so ago. It seems to be cost too much.

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