SitePoint Sponsor

User Tag List

Results 1 to 7 of 7
  1. #1
    SitePoint Enthusiast
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Location
    Brooklyn, NY
    Posts
    28
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    What are the main points that you would strictly adhere to when designing a governmental website? I have been working on our agency's site for about 6 months now (off and on, im also a system administrator), and would like to get some feedback on the topic. I've got my share of designing and coding experience, but this job is like none that i've ever done before. I've surfed over and over hoping i would find another agency's website as inspiration, but I havent found any thus far. So...

    What makes a good governmental website?

    How do i not exclude anyone from getting our information (language versions, stylesheets, table layout)?

    Can you point out any good governmental websites (preferably in the field of law) as an example?

    How do i address speech and text-only browsers in an efficient way? I'll admit that I've never actually pblished a text version of any site I've worked on previously (shame on me!).

    Are there any other hidden pitfalls i should be wary of?

    Thanks for any help you might offer.

    -ld

  2. #2
    SitePoint Enthusiast Vman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    43
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Well working on a corporate intranet (viewed by people worldwide) I hope I can offer a little help about some design tips.

    Keep the site plain and simple. Don't use any fancy javascript such as layer manipulation. I try to keep my code browser 3.0 compliant.

    Avoid frames at all costs. As your site is more than likely going to be a source of information, people will want to bookmark pages directly and also send them to others. If you have frames then it makes it harder for them to get directly to the information they want when they revisit the site.

    Stick to the governments local language, as most of your users will be from that country. It would be good to provide different languages as an added benefit, though this can prove to be a massive development strain.

    With text only browsers - If you don't want to do multiple versions of the site or don't have the backend capabilites to seperate content from look and feel. Make sure you provide a text only navigation menu (generally at the bottom of the page so it enhances your image navigation if you use it). As always make sure to specify the width and height of any images you use so that the browser can work around them.

    The biggest thing I have found is testing! Get some people to look at the site and tell you what they thought (try to get people as close to your target audience as possible). Was it easy to navigate etc.
    An easy way to do this is to give them a task to do on your site. Eg "find out the population of a certain city" then watch them work through the site to find the info they are looking for. Stand behind them and watch them do it. Don't answer any question or give any advice etc.
    When they are done, ask them what they thought. Was it easy to use? Would they come back?

    Hope this helps

  3. #3
    The Hiding One lynlimz's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2000
    Location
    Singapore
    Posts
    2,103
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Yes. Plain and Simple. Avoid flashy graphics, colours and text.

    Keep everything corporate.
    Make sure your design is so simple that it would support even the most primitive browsers. 2.0 or 3.0

    Be sure to make all the content native to the country. For example, in my case Singapore uses the british spelling disctionary...
    "Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world."
    -- Albert Einstein

  4. #4
    Misfit
    Join Date
    Apr 2000
    Location
    Pennsylvania, USA
    Posts
    2,266
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    While keeping it simple may be a good idea, you can make good looking, more complicated sites that work in all browsers easily. Take a look at the following site:

    http://www.state.pa.us/PAPower/

    Now the site looks good for a Government site, and still works in browser versions 3 and up. It just uses tables, images (all small, fast loading), and a little JavaScript, which isn't necessary to have for the page to work.

    Another example is the CIA website:

    http://www.cia.gov

    While it is more simple, it still uses graphics and some JavaScript.

    My point is: many of these Government sites aren't so simple that they don't look good. I'd say expand your horizons and not just focus on Government sites as examples. Check out http://www.coolhomepages.com for some really cool designs.

  5. #5
    SitePoint Addict
    Join Date
    Feb 2000
    Location
    District of Columbia
    Posts
    373
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Idunbar,

    Like everyone said before, keep it simple and readable. MAkus usre (this is a requirement for all government agencies) that it complies with the Accessibiliy Requirements (i forgot the name).

    If your agency has standards, find out what they are and make sure yo follow them. Depending on the agency, the might be more or less flexibility.

    BTW, what agency do yo uwork for? I work for the government as well

    P.S. Most inportant thing: government sites tend to get pretty big, make sure you have an esy navigation - no more than 3 clicks to get to where you want to be! Search is an excellent idea
    Last edited by temis; Feb 8, 2001 at 12:38.

  6. #6
    SitePoint Enthusiast
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Location
    Brooklyn, NY
    Posts
    28
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    thanks for the great comments everyone. i work for the new york state capital defender office. their plans for the site were to make certain info like internship and employment, finances, statutes...that sort of thing public. i know this is the wrong forum, but i've got a preliminary site up at www.nycdo.org . Legal agencies, particularly those in the defense side are very, well, paranoid about most of the information, so the site seems rather bland to me. check it out if you wish.

    -ld

  7. #7
    The Hiding One lynlimz's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2000
    Location
    Singapore
    Posts
    2,103
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Hmm..From what I see..requires alot of work.
    Why don't you post this in the website review forum and get them to offer their comment.s.

    After that, I'm quite sure it'll improve.

    Note:: You have to make 3 reviews before your post will be opened.
    "Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world."
    -- Albert Einstein


Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •