In most countries, including the United States, the government is the largest single producer, collector, consumer and disseminator of information. With such a strong presence in the daily life of its citizens, most governments, as well as their agencies, develop their own web sites from which they render a number of services. Just like any other web site, these sites operate in an environment that includes their own internal goals and those of their customers.
Governments are publicly accountable. Thus, their web sites and those of their agencies need to justify Return On Investment (ROI). If these sites do not meet the visitors’ needs, then the number of complaints from unsatisfied citizens will proportionally increase with traffic. Due to the fact that governments must adopt citizen-centric approaches, such disservice has larger repercussions. This is why usability plays such a pivotal role in the web sites of governments and those of their agencies.
So as to ensure adequate and uniform usability and user experience throughout all their web sites, governments very often issue their own sets of guidelines and best practices. This post contains a collection of such guidelines. But first, here is a short video from the U.S. Government’s WebContent.gov that provides useful tips on how to increase the usability Of government websites and boost your ROI.
The following guidelines are publicly available and have been retrieved from government web sites. The list is by no means exhaustive so if you find other official governmental web design and usability guidelines, please feel free to send them over.
- Australian Government Web Guide – Accessibility & Usability
- Government of Western Australia Website Standards, Guidelines and Checklists
- State Government of Victoria (Australia) Usability Resources
- Tasmanian Government Web Usability Guidelines
- Queensland Government Consistent User Experience Guidelines
- Manual para la implimentación de la estrategia de gobierno en línea de la República de Colombia (PDF)
- Guidelines containing the technical requirements, the definitions of the different accessibility levels and the technical methodologies for testing of web site accessibility
- Norwegian Ministry of Trade & Industry User Interface Guidelines for Governmental Forms on the Internet (ELMER2) (PDF)
United Arab Emirates
- Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies & Federal Web Managers Council – Usability Principles & Techniques
- Recommendation on usability standards for California State web pages (PDF)
- State of Utah web standards and guidelines
- Suggested Web Site Best Practices (PDF)
- U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (Usability.gov) Usability Guidelines
- U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) Usability Resources
- Usability guidelines for e-government applications (PDF)