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
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.
Agencies shall use appropriate management controls to provide
reasonable assurance that information posted to the Website is accurate,
relevant, timely, and complete.
An agency's Website primarily supports the public affairs
function of that agency and, as such, should be developed with access to
the general public in mind.
Agency Websites shall support only information directly related
to the agency's mission. THe agency Website should not support personal
information on agency personnel.
Agencies shall provide an alternate means of access to information
posted on their Website.
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
Instructions on the use of the Website pare provided.
The purpose/mission should be appropriate to the targeted
A liability statement warning the user of information provided
through the links is provided
Copyright statements are provided if necessary
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.
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.
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
Services must meet the needs of the user.
Services are fully operational.
Are the services open to everyone or do portions require
Statement of document/Website status is provided
Reference or sources of information cited are accurate.
Typing spelling, and grammar errors and other inconsistencies
II. Ease-of-Use Criteria (physical movement through
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.
There is contact information for the responsible entity.
Feedback links are operational
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
The URL is not likely to be confused or mis-typed.
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
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
Essential instructions appear before links requiring user
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
Links are provided to assist navigation ('return to top'
and 'return to previous page)