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Shneiderman applauds new federal government web usability guide

Research-Based Web Design and Usability Guidelines, is a handy 267-page cookbook for building better Web sites, produced jointly by the Health and Human Services Department and the General Services Administration. Useability expert and ISR-affiliated Professor Ben Shneiderman (CS/UMIACS) wrote the forward for the book. He calls it the best of the guideline books for informational web site design. "Ensuring that there was empirical evidence for each guideline was a massive effort that the authors did diligently," Shneiderman told Government Computer News. "The charm of these guidelines is that the value and benefits go far beyond government Web sites."

Shneiderman's favorite federal web sites include the Library of Congress, the Census Bureau and the National Library of Medicine’s Medline Plus. "These are great Web sites because of the remarkable content and the convenient access provided for much of the information," Shneiderman said.

Shneiderman has three suggestions to federal web managers to improve their agencies’ sites: test your site with real users doing real tasks, build in a plan for regular feedback, and assess usage continuously.

Research-Based Web Design and Usability Guidelines can be downloaded in PDF format.

June 22, 2007

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