E-Government Report assessing State/Federal websites

Original From: c.brantley@ieee.org
Subject: IEEE-USA Eye on Washington (9/29/00) 
Brown University researchers have released the first nationwide content 
analysis of state and federal government web sites. Entitled, "Assessing 
E-Government: The Internet, Democracy, and Service Delivery by State and 
Federal Governments," the study evaluates 1,813 web sites, ranking them for 
security, privacy, disability access, and foreign language access as well 
as overall content. Best overall ranking went to Texas, with Minnesota, 
New York, and Pennsylvania right behind. Lagging at the bottom were 
Delaware, New Hampshire and Rhode Island.

The study concludes that the e-government revolution has fallen short of 
its true potential and that government officials need to incorporate 
advanced technology into web sites in order to take advantage of the 
democratic potential of the Internet. Among the recommendations, the study 
calls for improvements in web site organization and structure, greater 
emphasis on legislative and judicial sites, better web site accessibility, 
and more contact information.

The full report is available on-line at: 

It's treatment of accessibility is the final section.

Increase Website Accessibility

Finally, we are concerned with accessibility. If government websites are not
accessible to all citizens, the benefits of e-government are not fully
realized. In order to avoid the "digital divide," in which citizens who do not
have computers or are prevented from accessing information on-line as a result
of disabilities or language barriers are disadvantaged when services and
information are made more conveniently available via the Internet, governments
need to consider accessibility when constructing their websites.

Using such services as the Bobby Approved website and providing TTY and TDD
phone numbers, governments can assure that they have made their information and
services accessible to their disabled citizens. Foreign language translation
services are also readily available online. By providing links to free services
such as Babel Fish (<http://world.altavista.com/>http://world.altavista.com) or
providing language translations or translators on their own pages, governments
can avoid disenfranchising the significant portion of the population that
speaks languages other than English as first languages.

In addition to considering the disabled and native speakers of foreign
languages, government should consider accessibility to the poor when
constructing their websites. ...

Received on Sunday, 1 October 2000 23:14:45 UTC