Government agency Web sites earned a slight boost in public approval over the last four months, thanks in large part to highly rated National Institutes of Health sites, according to a national index of customer satisfaction.
The quarterly gauge of customer satisfaction found that the 70 government Web sites measured by the American Customer Satisfaction Index attained a 72.6 out of 100 on the index, up from 71.9 last quarter. The index is published by the National Quality Research Center at the University of Michigan Business School.
Nine of the top ten sites are run by agencies that work with health issues, and eight are run by the National Institutes of Health. The average score of the 19 sites run by the Health and Human Services Department was 7 percent higher than the average of all the sites on the index.
Sue Feldman, senior program analyst for the National Cancer Institute, said that because the institute's visitors are so diverse - including patients, scientists and advocates -- the index breaks down the customer data from the surveys into the smaller user groups, which helps the agency serve all its customers.
Larry Freed, president and CEO of the Ann Arbor, Mich.-based online strategy firm ForeSee Results, said the success of the NIH sites is remarkable and attributed the success to user evaluations and the sharing of ideas between NIH site managers. "The NIH has embraced customer satisfaction as an enterprise-wide performance benchmark," Freed said.
The non-health-related Web site in the top ten is the General Services Administration's Pueblo, Colo., site, which received a 79. It is the home of the Federal Citizen Information Center, which provides a library of consumer-interest publications.
The government average of 72.6 is a point lower than the 73.6 average for all ACSI measured industries, both online and offline. Fourteen new sites joined the index this past quarter.
Improvements in the content, navigation and search categories pushed the overall score up, according to Freed, but the ability to search and navigate government Web sites remains the lowest-scoring elements in the index.
The General Services Administration's Web site hit the greatest improvement in customer satisfaction, up from a 57 to a 65, due largely to the changes made at the site in response to feedback. It remains second to last in customer satisfaction in the index's portals category.
Since GSA found that per diem information was one of the main reasons people visited the site, the agency made the link to the per diem page more accessible, according to Freed.
Other low performers in the portals category include House and Urban Development Department's main site with a 61, the Federal Aviation Administration's main site with a 67 and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's main site with a 69.
In the news and information category, the main sites for the Defense Department's Military Health System and the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau received 58s, and four Agriculture Department sites were in the bottom seven in this category.
The CIA recruitment site ranked the highest of the three government career sites that the index measured with 79, followed by the Office of Personnel Management recruitment site with 77 and the State Department's recruitment site with 76.
|SSA||SSA Retirement Planner||SSA Retirement Planner||79||78|
|Treasury||U.S. Mint||U.S. Mint's Online Catalog||76||81|
|DHS||Federal Emergency Management Agency||FEMA Flood Map Store||71||70|
|GSA||General Services Administration||GSA Advantage||69||68|
|GSA||GSA Global Supply||Global Supply||68||68|
|PBCG||Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation||PBGC||65||63|
|HHS||National Library of Medicine||MedlinePlus||85||87|
|HHS||National Library of Medicine||MedlinePlus en espanol||84||83|
|HHS||National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases||NIDDK||84||NA|
|HHS||Office on Women's Health||National Womens Health Information Center||82||82|
|HHS||National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders||NIH Stem Cell Information||81||NA|
|HHS||National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders||NIDCD||81||NA|
|GSA||General Services Administration||Federal Citizen Information Center||79||79|
|HHS||National Library of Medicine||AIDSinfo||79||80|
|State||Bureau of Cultural Affairs||State Alumni||79||NA|
|HHS||National Library of Medicine||TOXNET||76||76|
|Justice||National Criminal Justice Reference Service||NCJRS||76||77|
|Justice||Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention||OJJDP||75||75|
|Justice||National Institute of Justice||NIJ||74||75|
|HHS||Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality||Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality||74||73|
|NARA||National Archives and Records Administration||NARA Presidential Library||74||74|
|SSA||Social Security Administration||SSA FAQ||73||NA|
|State||State Department||State Department Education USA||73||71|
|HHS||National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases||NIAID||73||76|
|SSA||Social Security Administration||SSA Disability||72||NA|
|Labor||Bureau of Labor Statistics||BLS Occupational Outlook Handbook||71||73|
|Agriculture||Economic Research Service, Agriculture||ERS||71||72|
|Commerce||Bureau of Economic Analysis, Commerce||BEA||71||71|
|Agriculture||Foreign Agricultural Service, Agriculture||FAS||70||69|
|HHS||Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results, National Cancer Institute||SEER||70||NA|
|State||State Department||Student Information||69||69|
|State||International Information Programs||IIP||69||67|
|Energy||Energy Information Administration||Energy Information Adiministration||67||69|
|State||Bureau of Cultural Affairs||Bureau of Cultural Affairs||67||71|
|Agriculture||National Agricultural Library||NAL||66||66|
|Agriculture||Food Safety and Inspection Service||FSIS||66||66|
|Agriculture||Forest Service||Forest Service||66||73|
|DHS||Federal Emergency Management Agency||FEMA Mitigation Division||65||67|
|Agriculture||Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service||CSREES||62||62|
|Treasury||Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau||USTTB||58||0|
|Defense||Military Health System||TRICARE||57||56|
|Portals/Department main sites|
|HHS||National Cancer Institute||National Cancer Institute||81||80|
|HHS||Office of Science Education||Office of Science Education||80||NA|
|HHS||National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases||NIAMS||78||NA|
|Interior||National Parks Service||National Parks Service||78||79|
|Commerce||National Institute of Standards and Technology||NIST||78||77|
|HHS||National Library of Medicine||NLM||76||77|
|HHS||National Human Genome Research Institute||NHGRI||75||NA|
|GSA||General Services Administration||FirstGov.gov (Spanish)||75||74|
|Defense||Defense Department||Defense Department||75||76|
|HHS||National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research||NIDCR||74||0|
|HHS||Centers for Disease Control and Prevention||CDC||73||74|
|SSA||Social Security Administration||SSA||73||72|
|FDIC||Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation||FDIC||73||73|
|NASA||National Aeronautics and Space Administration||NASA||72||74|
|GSA||General Services Administration||FirstGov.gov||72||71|
|GAO||Government Accountability Office||GAO||71||71|
|State||State Department||State Department||71||73|
|HHS||National Institute of General Medical Sciences||NIGMS||71||NA|
|Treasury||Department of the Treasury||Treasury Department||70||69|
|NARA||National Archives and Records Administration||NARA||69||68|
|Treasury||Internal Revenue Service||IRS||69||70|
|Commerce||United States Patent and Trademark Office||USPTO||68||66|
|FAA||Federal Aviation Administration||FAA||67||68|
|GSA||General Services Administration||GSA||65||57|
|HUD||Housing and Urban Development Department||HUD||61||62|
|CIA||Central Intelligence Agency||CIA Recruitment||79||79|
|OPM||Office of Personnel Management||Government Recruitment||77||76|
|State||State Department||State Department Recruitment||76||78|