The following draft guideline and criteria were taken from:
Eschenfelder, Kristin R. et al.  Assessing U.S. Federal Government Websites.  Government Information Quarterly, Vol. 14(2)173-89 (1997)
Recognizing the increasing use of the Web by federal agencies and the implications of existing federal information dissemination policies on such practices, The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) developed and circulated draft policy guidelines for federal agency use of the Web as an information dissemination medium.

Criteria for the Evaluation of Websites

I.  Information Content Criteria

Orientation to the Website

  • A Website overview is provided.
  • The scope of Website is clearly stated.
  • The services and information provided at the Website are described.
  • Instructions on the use of the Website pare provided.
  • The purpose/mission should be appropriate to the targeted audiences(s)).
  • A liability statement warning the user of information provided through the links is provided
  • Copyright statements are provided if necessary
  • Content

  • The content of the homepage should match the purpose/mission.
  • The content and links match the needs of the expected audience.
  • The Website includes only necessary and useful information.
  • Content coverage does not overlap.
  • The amount of information is significant, not overwhelming, and is balanced throughout the Website.
  • Full-text references or other resources are available
  • The content has rich and unique qualities that inspire users to visit the site regularly.
  • The content is written in a clear and consistent language style that matches the expected audience.
  • The content avoids jargon, humor condescension, accusation, and chit chat.
  • The content uses a positive and professional tone.
  • Language does not show bias.
  • Content is organized logically throughout the Website and by anticipated user need.
  • Currency

  • Address of contact person and last update information appear at the bottom of pages with substantive content.
  • Pages have been updated in he past three months.
  • The content provided by the Website creators is up-to-date.
  • Bibliographic Control

  • Headings are clearly phrased, descriptive, and understandable.
  • Each screen is titled clearly.
  • If the headings cannot be completely descriptive, coherent and concise descriptions follow.
  • The information that is provided through the link matches the headings and descriptions.
  • Terminology and layout are consistent within the headings throughout the Website.
  • Services (if provided)

  • Provision of services is different than provision of information resources.
  • Services must meet the needs of the user.
  • Services are fully operational.
  • Are the services open to everyone or do portions require fees?
  • Accuracy

  • Statement of document/Website status is provided
  • Reference or sources of information cited are accurate.
  • Typing spelling, and grammar errors and other inconsistencies are absent.

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    II.  Ease-of-Use Criteria  (physical movement through the Website)

    Quality of Links

  • There are no dead-end links.
  • "What's New" section provided for new links.
  • Shortcut links are possible for frequent users.
  • Warning statements are provided if link will lead to large document or image.
  • Indication of restricted access for a link is provided.
  • Links are provided to mentioned documents
  • Speed is adequate
  • Minimal use of large graphics and bright colors so that document loading is relatively fast.

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    Feedback Mechanism

  • There is contact information for the responsible entity.
  • Feedback links are operational
  • Accessibility

  • There is an awareness of the existence of this Website through search engines or other publicity
  • Full name of the Website organization is provided in the Title, heading, document address, graphical link and/or URL in order that the source be recoverable.
  • It is usually possible to reach the site.  It is not frequently overloaded.
  • The URL is not likely to be confused or mis-typed.
  • Design

  • Format is appropriate to subject matter and functionality.  A good design direct users toward information rather than away from it.
  • The screen is uncluttered.
  • The format is consistent throughout the Website.
  • The homepage for the Website is short and simple.
  • The Website is written in standard HTML and is consistent when accessed via different browsers.
  • Graphics and color lead the user through the information appropriately.
  • Monster graphics are not used.
  • Many little graphics are avoided.
  • Use of bold, italics, blinking, and other attention-getting devices is limited.
  • User has the option of turning off the automatic loading of graphics.

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    Navigability

  • Essential instructions appear before links requiring user interaction.
  • Navigation options are distinct and spelled out.
  • Minimal user skills are required.
  • All the links and parts of the Website work.
  • Interactions are secured if they involve private information.
  • Links are provided to return to Website homepage on all supporting pages.
  • Links are provided to assist navigation ('return to top' and 'return to previous page)

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