User satisfaction with US government Web sites rises

Linda Rosencrance schreibt seit mehr als 20 Jahren über Technologiethemen - unter anderem für unsere US-Schwesterpublikation

User satisfaction with federal government Web sites has risen for the second straight quarter, according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index, which measures the online performance of a variety of Web sites.

The improvement in satisfaction is a result of slight improvements across all of the elements that drive Web site satisfaction and are common across most sites: content, functionality, navigation, site performance, look and feel, and search, according to Ann Arbor, Mich.-based ForeSee Results, a sponsor of the ACSI, which is produced by the University of Michigan.

In the third quarter of this year, overall user satisfaction climbed 1.2 percent to 73.5 on the 100-point scale of the ACSI, said Larry Freed, president of ForeSee Results and author of the report.

A total of 13 federal Web sites achieved satisfaction scores of 80 or above -- a superior score for the public and private sectors -- while four sites were rated below 60, Freed said. Navigation and search remain areas of high priority for government Web sites, he said.

Ten of the sites with scores of 80 or above are health-related sites under the auspices of the National Institutes of Health, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Also among the top-scoring sites is the General Service Administration"s Federal Citizen Information Center.

The 10 top-performing sites outperformed the other sites in all areas, particularly in functionality, look and feel, navigation and search, Freed said.

The Social Security Administration broke into the e-government top 10 with the addition of three new sites to the index, according to Freed. The sites -- the SSA"s Help With Medicare Prescription Drug Costs, Internet Social Security Benefits Application, and Social Security Business Services Online -- each do a good job of meeting the specific needs of its user base, Freed said.

"E-government has been making incremental improvements on a consistent basis, and over time these incremental improvements continue to add up," Freed said.

"Online government is nearly keeping pace with the private sector, but government is doing it with much more limited resources," he said. "Measuring customer satisfaction is the first step in identifying where improvements are needed, but some government sites may not have sufficient budget to make changes that will result in customer satisfaction increases."