Keeping your .gov clients websites compliant, post the 2016 election
We would love to say that we’re happy that the 2016 election is over. It was a painful, grueling, and at times- downright nasty campaign cycle. Our children deserve better. We’d love to say that we’re happy that this nightmarish reality show is over, but unfortunately–it’s just getting started.
However, those of us who service .gov clients need to ensure that they are able to effectively communicate their agency’s objectives to consumers that reach them online.
While long-standing requirements such as 508 compliance for those with disabilities and plain language are still in effect (and should be); the long-awaited and newly-updated policies for federal/.gov public websites have been released. There are a few new requirements that we wanted to highlight and make you aware of.
Here are our eight tips for avoiding and eliminating never-ending revisions.
1.) As required in the Digital Government Strategy, every agency must establish a plan for governing its digital services, including websites and data. And, all agencies must publicly post their governance plan on their Digital Strategy page at www.[agency.gov]/digitalstrategy/ and update this page to reflect the current status of the agency’s digital governance structure.
2.) All agencies are required to participate in the General Service Administration’s (GSA) Digital Analytics Program (DAP) and implement the DAP tracking code on all public facing agency websites. The DAP provides agencies with access to free quantitative analytics to inform website management. Please note that while this is required, you can still use other forms of analytics (i.e. Google Analytics) with DAP).
3.) As more website visitors move to mobile for web browsing, all .gov public-facing websites must contain a search function. Please see http://search.digitalgov.gov for more info. Agencies must ensure that all content intended for public use on their website can be indexed and searched by commonly used commercial search engines.
4.) If your .gov client has been dragging their feet about making their site responsive now is the time to get them to make the change. For all new websites and major website redesigns, agencies must ensure responsive design that allows users on non-desktop devices equivalent access to Government information.
To see the other requirements please go to whitehouse.gov
While this is not a requirement, we would highly recommend that .gov web contractors work with their clients to refresh their About Us page. With the administration change, most agencies can expect to see a mass exodus or influx of new hires. This is the time that you want potential applicants to learn more about what you do.
Here are some best practices we recommend
for your About Us page:
- Tell your Agency’s story using the right voice
- Show, tell, and brag (a little)
- Organize clearly and effectively
- Less is more
- Provide a Summary: 1-2 paragraphs on the landing page that offer a bit more detail about the Agency’s goal and main accomplishments. Serious but show your personality.
- Provide a Fact sheet: A section following the summary that elaborates on its key points and other essential facts about the organization (media-friendly).
- Detailed information: Subsidiary pages with more depth for people who want to learn more about the organization.
- Additional information
- Photos of your people/team/or the office
- History of the organization (at least the yr founded)
– Community and social programs that your organization contributes to
- Core values and culture
- Contact information
- Strategic, financial, or federal reports