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GCN Daily Updates Story: Interagency committee identifies steps to citizen-centered Web site

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Date: Sat, 19 Jun 2004 02:56:31 -0500 (CDT)
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The entire article may be viewed at http://www.gcn.com/vol1_no1/daily-updates/26269-1.html

Interagency committee identifies steps to citizen-centered Web site

By Jason Miller, GCN Staff

The Interagency Committee on Government Information last week recommended seven steps agencies can take to make their Web sites more accessible.

The suggestions come from the committee’s Web Content Standards Working Group report, sent to the Office of Management and Budget. The E-Government Act of 2002 required OMB to form this committee to look at the accessibility, dissemination and retention of federal information.

The working group said agency Web sites should:

Be easily identified as being a federal government Web site, use the government domain, provide current and accurate government information, and follow basic common linking practices
Be written and organized from the citizen’s point of view
Be designed and written to ensure easy access by using plain English and having consistent navigation tools, a search function and standard metadata
Promote seamless movement within agency sites and between department portals. Agencies should collaborate in developing governmentwide portals, and all sites should link to Firstgov.gov
Establish priorities for posting information
Comply with security, privacy, accessibility and other laws and regulations
Develop Web content policies and requirements. OMB should establish a Web Content Advisory Council, create processes to approve common content and links, coordinate cross-agency portals, and require agencies to report on progress and compliance with Web content policies and requirements.

The working group developed the recommendations by reviewing federal Web sites and identifying common practices, compiling existing laws, regulations and other official directives, and soliciting suggestions from the public through Firstgov.gov.

The committee by September will develop a Web Content Management Toolkit Web site on FirstGov. It will include examples and best practices of how to implement OMB and congressional requirements, resources and additional guidelines for making federal Web sites more citizen focused, the report said.

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