Meeting Federal Web Requirements and Best Practices


good afternoon this is Sheila Campbell along with Nicole Burton and we are thrilled to have the webinar with all of you this afternoon they’re on the Leisha do we need anything else before we get started or should I we go ahead and start rolling go ahead you uh okay great thanks so much I know we’re expecting about 300 folks on the webinar this afternoon which is a fantastic turnout so we’re really thrilled that so many of you could be with us this afternoon happy new year to all of you so the purpose of today’s webinar is to give everybody a briefing and overview on federal web requirements and best practices and the turnout shows a real tremendous interest in that so we hope that this class will help clarify some of the questions you may have and give you lots of resources where you can learn more as you can imagine we have a lot to cover in a very short period of time so but we thought would be better to do it as a short seminar so we reach more people that way but just to manage expectations we’re not going to be able to get into a lot of detail about every single federal web requirement so the idea really is to give you a broad overview of all the key things you need to know to meet these requirements and then you can follow up with a lot of the resources that we’re going to provide to you today and we are recording the webinar of course will provide a copy of the slides afterwards so you’ll have a lot of good resources to take with you after today so we’re going to go ahead and just jump right in here at the agenda for the webinar this afternoon I’m going to start off with about 50 minutes of overview of web requirements and then the coal is going to take the helm and she’ll run through the best practices portion and then we’re going to show you some follow up resources and then we’ll wrap up with some QA and I imagine many of you folks have joined us before four previous webinars so I think you’re familiar with go to webinar format there’s a chat box there where you can type in any logistical questions you may have and then there’s a separate question box underneath that where you can submit a question and then Alicia will voice those questions to us at the end of the webinar and in the box there you’ll also see a number to contact if you’re having any technical difficulties so to just provide a bit of a context for today you the question is you know how many federal laws and requirements are out there and there are a lot as I said we’re not going to get into details of every single of them but they’re about there are 15 laws and regulations pertaining to federal websites there are two executive orders and presidential memoranda and there are lots of other requirements and policies from OMB so we all know that federal web managers have some of the toughest jobs out there and that’s why because there’s just a lot of information that we all need to know and then there’s perhaps even more coming down the pike on the horizon that will need to be familiar with perhaps there will be a you know web streamlining directive at some point in the future that tries to get on top of the proliferation of federal websites and create some stronger standards there’s been some talk about a customer service directive so that our web operations are more integrated into the other customer service channels like the phone and email and another channel so there’s a lot for us to be familiar with and so you know why is it important why are so many of you folks joining us today I think you all know but just you know some some reminders a lot of it is standardization there’s there’s a reason why it’s good to have some of these requirements out there so that we’re all doing the same thing we’re all serving the public in a consistent way and that helps our customers in long run obviously it’s important to follow federal requirements because there’s a lot of watchdog groups there’s the media and other people expect compliance and I think we’re all familiar with situations where we’re not complying we hear about it and for good reason if we’re creating websites that aren’t accessible for people with disabilities we’re going to get called on that so those folks are keeping us in check and that’s important and of course the last reason we don’t have a choice a lot of times these are written into law and so we we have to follow them so it’s great that so many folks are joining today to make sure that you’re all kind of aware of what’s out there what you need to be be doing so the questions you know which ones are the most important and you know in our work day to day we always have to prioritize of course we need to be following all of these things but there are some that are more important than others and so that’s what we’re going to go through today is to make sure that you are aware of the really big ticket items that you should be following so these are the ones that we’re going to cover today in many of you folks are probably very familiar with a lot of these but these are the ones that are the big requirements and policies that govern federal public websites like the e-government act of 2002 and the open government directive etc so we’re just going to go ahead and jump right into each of these but before we even get started and going through them wanted to give you some context of where you can go for more information assuming most of you all when you register for this class so you went to web content Gove’s you’re very familiar with that this is the website for the community is managed by the community it’s a great resource if you haven’t yet checked it out this is really where you can go to find all the the detailed information about everything that we’re going to talk about on the webinar this afternoon so there’s a requirements and best practices section that you should become very familiar with if you haven’t already and then on web content gov you’ll see that we’ve also provided some other important tools for you there’s a number of checklists on there this is an example one of the checklists that we have on the site and this is to help you give you some some tools to make sure that you’re you’re complying with all these requirements so it’s just a simple checklist you know do I have a search engine on every page you know am I using standard metadata do I have an about Us page that kind of thing so we really encourage you to check out with content gov for these kinds of tools so we’re going to start with the first one the first one is the ego Act of 2002 and it’s hard to believe that this has actually been around for about eight years now but this is really the most significant piece of recent legislation governing federal websites and it’s section 207 that deals specifically with the work that we do and just so you know what we’ve done on all of these slides is we started off with a reference given you the link to where you can go to get the exact language of each requirement and then try to highlight the key points in these but just you know this is not necessarily the exact language is in each of these requirements it’s really meant to be a summary so we still encourage you all to go out and take a look at the specific requirement in each of these cases so the ego backed section 207 required OMB to issue policies for federal public websites which they actually did at the end of two thousand four and so we’ll get to that in a moment but that’s the key thing that they acted and then in addition it has some a few specific things pertaining to set old websites one of which was it said that agencies need to link to some specific content which we’ll talk about in a moment that they need to meet minimum agency goals for search with it which they didn’t really specify but basically they were saying agencies need to make sure that they have search functionality on their websites which of course pretty basic but you know that actually hasn’t been written into any requirement up until then and that agencies also need you all need to have posts you need to post your content inventories and schedules which will also get into in just a moment and then the final thing is to report your progress annually on how well your meeting each of these requirements so this is an important piece of legislation that it does set forth just some basic requirements for how agencies should be operating their websites and then again as part of the ego backed it required it would be to issue policies for federal public websites and some of you folks may know that at the time we didn’t have the resources to actually develop those policies themselves so they created a group called the web content standards working group which made recommendations to OMB and those recommendations are what resulted in a policy memo that it will be issued to all agency heads in December of 2004 and it was that working group that actually ended up evolving into the federal web managers Council which still exists today so there are basically ten policies as part of this OMB memo and we’re going to review the most important ones there’s a link there so you can read the whole memo that long actually some about four to five pages but it really was trying to establish some high-level basic principles that all federal websites should be following like making sure that you’re using approved gov domain making sure you’re protecting people’s privacy managing records etc so the key thing on this one is just to make sure that you’re familiar with those ten policies and make sure that you have a checklist or some sort of other way to be sure your agency is in compliance so before we even jump in here just to provide a little bit of context does anyone know of course you know we’re on a webinar so we can’t you know reach out to all of you folks but if we were doing this in person we’d ask a quiz which is does anyone know what this number represents so basically this is the number that’s been thrown out of law of how many federal websites are out there and the answer actually really to that is nobody knows for sure we do know that there are just under 2,000 top-level gov domains but knowing that there’s a lot of these micro sites and sub sites and and lots of things underneath the top-level domains we estimate that there’s roughly about this many federal websites and what this means is that we don’t actually have a very good process for ensuring that we can stop the polish proliferation of websites and that we’re not just standing up websites but don’t really have a purpose and then aren’t serving the public and so what we need to really do is do a better job of managing the daca registration process and we are federal web managers counsel is working with the other part of GSA that manages the doc of registration process and to see if we can develop some more standard criteria for when we get a gov but the bottom line in this is that we do need to be using gov domains and this is part of the only policies which is to make sure that at a minimum we at least are using the dot gov domain when we are standing up a federal website and I’m sure many of you folks out there actually have instances where perhaps someone’s setting up a rogue website in a different domain like amor org and so this is one of the first things to get on top of is to make sure that if you are managing a federal website government website it needs at the federal level it needs to be in the gov domain and so the only policy is very clear on this the main reasons that establishes public trust and authenticity people know that the daka means that they’re accessing official government information there are a lot of knockoff sites out there that purport to be government websites and purport to have government content so it’s really important to use that fed gov and there will be policy and this is very clear that if any website that is managed and funded by federal agency needs to be in the cup so even if it’s managed by a contractor it still needs to be in the gov and of course if you’re at the od’d it needs to be in thought mill the doc said us is actually just grandfathered in there’s only a couple agencies who are still using that so the action items here is a get on top of the domains that your agency owns obviously ideally your agency we don’t apply domain like epa gov or HUD gov but we know that some agencies have a proliferation of sites and they have many more websites that they’re managing so the key thing is to get a list of domains that you own make sure that they’re all in the government domain and you can work with your agency POC points of contact to get a list of those domains through the gov website that we provided here it is ok to have aliases another domains I can accom NASA I think may have Mayo NASA calm and and Navy owns Navy com for their recruitment website but they do redirect it to a government domain and that’s the appropriate thing to do there and then the other thing of course is to avoid duplication and so it’s a good idea to search usa.gov which is the portal for the US government to find similar websites or content before you start opening up and standing up a new website that may already exist so the next area here is content inventories and schedules and put this visual up here because you know this is something we all try to do even in our personal life is to kind of you know get control of what we have because if you don’t know what you have it’s hard to manage it and so that’s the key thing on content inventories and schedule is to make sure that you know the content that you’re managing so one of the only requirements then is to make sure that you have an inventory of your web content the ideas of the public should be able to know the main contents of your website and if there’s content that you’re not providing that you should what’s your schedule for posting that content so it’s not just developing the inventory but it’s it’s posting a schedule of when you’re going to provide access to where there may be some content gaps so the key thing here is that if you haven’t yet already done this and this is a very old requirement back from 2004 so imagine most of you folks have already done this already but if you haven’t or if you haven’t updated it in a while encourage you to go back and look at your inventory that you have online and make sure it’s up to date you can go to usa.gov here to review a list of the agency web inventories so encourage you to do that and then the key thing here is it doesn’t necessarily need to be a page-by-page account of course that’s not a bad idea and of course if you have a system it should be easy to do that but in a minimum you should be defining a broad list of categories such as press releases information about how to apply for grants that kind of thing and then document who your various audience groups are their major content needs and determine if you have the content already to meet their needs and if you don’t what’s your plan to make it available so again the key thing here is to make sure that you are meeting the needs of your audiences and also a good rule of thumb here is always to also check with your FOIA staff if they’re continuing to get a lot of requests for some more type of information that’s not available on your website that’s a signal to you that you should probably be making this information available if you can so it’s not really not meant to be an owner’s task the key thing is to get on top of the content that you own okay so the next area here is to cover a linking policy this is part again part of the OMB requirements only policies that you do need to ensure that you have a linking policy for your website and it might not sound that important but you know linking really is important to the authenticity of the content on your website and so it’s important because it ensures you know the accuracy of your content and linking is also good because it reduces duplication if you’re not the authoritative source on a particular topic you should be linking to it to another website for that but the key thing is that links need to remain current they need to be relevant they need to be appropriate because again it links do reflect on the content that you have on your site so the the key thing is to make sure that your your links are current and that you also have a good linking policy in place that defines the criteria that you use for when you link out to non-government websites so that one of the action items here is again keeping and just about everything I’m going to say this afternoon is don’t start from scratch always look to see what somebody else has done there’s always really good models out there on usa.gov you can review other agency linking policies i’m going to show you the usa doctors linking policy in a moment that’s a good model as well so make sure you have a linking policy the requirement is to post it to your website and then establish a process for regularly monitoring your links many folks use these automated checkers which is great but you still need to have a little bit of human checking there because sometimes link may be out of date or maybe linking to inappropriate content and even the automated link checkers don’t don’t catch that the other requirement here is that you do need to notify your visitors when linking to non-federal sites especially private sector sites that may not fall under the same requirements as our federal websites they may not have the same privacy policies for example if you do need to make people aware that they may be leaving on a non-federal website but the keychain here you know this is always a big debate you don’t need to necessarily have an exit disclaimer you know there’s a lil annoying thing saying you’re now leaving our site those are real that’s really pretty much an old approach to this we’ve done usability testing and they really do annoy users this may be something you need to discuss with your lawyers I think the key thing is here is to give them examples of other agencies but don’t use these these exits disclaimer pages and show them that most agencies are no longer doing this it will show you some examples of some more sort of nuanced ways to do that and then finally be sure you link to all require content we’re going to talk about that in just a moment so here’s an example of a sample linking policy again from usa.gov this is a pretty good one we encourage you to check this out it basically explains the criteria that the team here uses to when linking to an outside websites and then here’s an example this is actually pulls from the EPA website of how they’ve done a nice job providing and an exodus glamour without being too obtrusive to the user experience they have a nice little icon here which basically you know indicates to people that they’re leaving the apt a website and then they when you click on that little icon if you choose to you you get this nice notice here that says this low graphic means you’ll be leaving the APA website and so they run this through their lawyers lawyers are happy with it so this is I think it’s a nice presentation of how to notify people that you’re you’re leaving your site but not doing in a way that messes up their user experience there’s lots of ways that this can be done so then the the part of the only policy also requires that agencies have certain required links on your website so you should need to be aware of what those things are and here’s just a screenshot of where you can find out what those required links are and in some cases there’s a recommended link label this is always good for agencies to be using the same link label so that when the public goes to federal websites you know when they see privacy policy they expect it to be the same label on every website so it’s very good to use consistent common terms as much as we can so the six links that you have to have on your website our privacy policy you have to have a link to your FOIA page you have to have a link to an about Us page and equivalent that has information about your strategic plan your statutory authority etc and then you also have have a link to something that’s called no fear act data and that’s information about people who may have filed the employee discrimination claim against your agency and you do need to have a link to usa.gov and because that’s the homepage of the federal government helps orient people and then you do need to have a link to any relevant cross-agency portals and that’s up to the discretion of your agency but it may be that for example if you’re a regulatory agency you should have a link to regulations gov which is sort of the central cross agency portal for that that topic so me to this page on with contact I make sure you’re aware of what those required links are and also where it’s required in some cases you are required to have certain links on every page of your website like the privacy policy link and the foil link needs to be on your homepage and what they call major entry points to your sites which you know in that case probably means your top pages and and for ease of use it means you know putting it on every page is probably the easiest way to go especially if you have a content management system you know you just put all those links in your footer and you’re good to go so we’re going to now move to a 130 which is technically not part of that OMB policy memo that went out in 2004 this is actually quite a bit older it’s been around for about 15 years and this is actually a memo that is called a management of federal information resources so it’s not specific necessarily to to the web in fact it was issued before the web became so prominent but what’s important about it is it lays out broad principles around how the federal government needs to manage its information resources how it manages the content it produces so in fact it’s very relevant to us and the reason why it is relevant is that it defines federal public websites as information dissemination products so it says that with any such product you need to plan organize manage and measure it effectively so what’s good about this is it if you’re looking for justification to show the importance of your website in accomplishing your agency mission and communicating to the public and 130 is a really great source for that so again it can really support your strategy and budget so you know take a look at it I think you’ll find some good language in there that you can use as you’re making a business case for for more resources for your website in terms of the importance of communicating to the public so the t2 key action items here is you know take a look at a 130 make sure you know it and understand it and we highly encourage you to read a document that was put together five or six years ago called the major implications of a 130 and was produced by candy Harrison who some of you may know is sort of an early pioneer of this community she did a great job taking the OMB memo which wasn’t exactly written in plain language and then saying you know here’s what it says but here’s really what it means for web managers and so that’s a very useful resource that we encourage you to check out so I’m going to hit just a few highlights here so you have a sense of what is in there but the big thing that a 130 does is it says that your content needs to be mission related needs to have practical utility I’ll show applied in a minute to give you some context for that and then it also says that agency should be collaborating to develop one authoritative source and we know there’s a lot of duplication out there and so you know it’s a call to action to all of you out there is to work to make sure you’re developing you know once or tative source on a topic and not duplicating information that may be found you know on another website even within your own organization or course in another agency so the idea is to create content once and then use it many times and they 130 talks a lot about that so and so just an illustration here I mean this is the big thing that a 14 ready really really talks a lot about which is the cost of web content shouldn’t exceed the value and so you this is one thing that we need to be thinking a lot about which is you know we’re spending a lot of time developing content but then no one is accessing that page and it may be a reason reasons why people aren’t actually seeing the page then we’re not we’re not actually providing value to the public and so this is where metrics comes in we need to make sure that we’re looking at the metrics we’re looking to make sure people are actually using the content that we produce if we’re spending a lot of time producing it no one’s looking at it then we’re not really serving the public and this is why many of you folks have heard about you know top tasks this is why top tasks are so important is that there’s a lot of data that shows that you know eighty percent or ninety percent of people are coming to our websites and they’re really only accessing maybe ten percent of the content and so we know as web managers everybody feels incredibly overwhelmed in terms of you know I can’t fix every page on my website on the word start so the key is to start on those pages that most people are accessing focus on your top tasks where the three or four really big ticket things that people are coming to your agency website to accomplish and get those working really really well don’t focus on those pages that you know 10 20 50 people you know look at every year those may be important but in the grand scheme of things with priorities really need to be focusing on those pages that produce the highest value and if you’re trying to begin build a business case for that go back to a 130 because it’s got some really good language in there to help you with that so this is an example of you know perhaps the site that is not following the principles of a 130 isida site that’s been around for a while some of you folks have heard you know she show this before it’s called cat herding on the military range and the real question of course is does this site support you know agency mission do you think the cost of maintaining it exceeds the value and of course was you know close to 24,000 or however many websites out there there’s probably a lot more like this so these are the kinds of things to avoid if you have these kind of pages these kind of websites missing your agency definitely do something about it and then here’s another one this is one that actually still up there and maintained on a regular basis this is you know songs from the road you know do we really need to have a website about this it’s nice to have nice content interesting but really you know are we really adding to to public value by maintaining a website with songs about you know traveling on the highway and especially if something like this already exists in the commercial space you guys can google this all spare the agency from providing the direct link to this so sure you guys can probably find it but here’s an example and here’s another example whether some duplication these are actually both excellent sites on their own America gov put up by State Department to do a fantastic job with this website but we do have America gov and usa.gov and so the question is are we causing all over the confusion here by having some more astounding websites maybe it’s okay to have both of these but it again this is an opportunity here to see if there’s some duplication that can be can be addressed but here is something to do this is example of a good practice which is on the HUD website when they’re providing information about jobs instead of duplicating information that may exist elsewhere they’re just pointing here’s where they’re linking out to the USAJOBS website and you all are familiar with USA Jobs and I think that’s you know definitely something that we should be doing down the road which is creating these these central repositories where people can go to get this information rather than duplicating all this information on you know 20 or 100 different individual federal websites so courage folks to do more of this kind of creating and then sharing so we’re going to move now on to privacy policy this is obviously something that is incredibly important to all of us there’s been there’s always talked about government and privacy and making sure that we’re protecting people’s information when they come to a federal website so if you’re not yet familiar enough with policy issues this is something that could you know get you in trouble so this is something to really focus on and I want to say that the biggest thing and all of this when we’re dealing with privacy is to sit down and talk with your agency privacy officer if you are a web manager and you don’t yet know your privacy officer that’s definitely something that you should put on your to-do list because those folks are really there to protect you and make sure that you’re doing things in the right way but again here’s a link to where you can find all the different requirements related to privacy the keychain here again we mentioned this before in terms of required links if you do need to post your privacy policy on every page of your website pretty straightforward imagine most people do this already but if you don’t this is something to do and then of course and the privacy policy you need to explain exactly what you’re going to do with the information that you collect on your website and you need to be very transparent about that so the action items here make sure your privacy policy is up to date it does need to be an omission what’s called a machine-readable format p3p there’s information on the link provided there on how to do that and then in terms of persistent cookies I think most folks are familiar with persistent cookies there’s been an update to that law and so what you need to do there is no that there is actually a new new law out there about a new requirement about persistent cookies originally you needed to have permission from your agency head to use persistent cookies but now there’s been some some relaxation on that for use of those and so is no longer a strict you know sort of no no to use persistent cookies but you do need to be careful on how you use them actually let me just briefly explain case you’re not familiar with what how cookies are used cookies are basically a small piece of code stored on your computer’s browser and you can set your browser so the cookies will be deleted automatically within a certain period of time but if you like not to delete them the cookies are good and that they can be used when you’re a repeat visitor to a website to remember your preferences etc like example if you’re putting something in a shopping cart so it can be used to remember information about the users been to your website before some agencies are using this for their customer satisfaction survey so they don’t serve up the survey to people multiple times you have already completed the survey the cookie tells them that somebody has already gotten it before so there are many uses for this the other thing to be aware here is a new memo that came out from OMB in June of 2010 called privacy and third-party websites and that also lays out some requirements if you’re going to be using sites like Facebook and YouTube and Twitter unity you do need to make sure that if people don’t want to use those websites because they’re concerned about the privacy policies of those websites you need to make sure that they have another way to access the similar information that you’re providing to them so here’s just a little bit more about the persistent cookies piece the key thing here is that in the memo from OMB it differentiates between when you’re collecting information personally identifiable information sometimes referred to as PII you do need to make sure that if you’re collecting that kind of information for example someone’s name or their email address that you provide them an opportunity to opt out of that and so that’s a really clear distinction there so just make sure that you know if you’re collecting any kind of PII that you consult with your privacy officer and they can walk you through the process it also in the memo from OMB it does say that if you’re collecting information about people through cookies you there’s a limit as to how long you can retain that information and also who has access to that information so again just make sure you take a quick a good look at that policy to be sure you’re following it appropriately and here is a sample updated privacy policy for from an agency who is now using persistent cookies it’s from National Institutes of Health they’ve done a really nice job here providing a privacy notice in plain language they’re referencing the elbe memo here and they’re basically explaining what a cookie is and what kind of information they’re collecting and how they’re using that information so this is a really great example and then I was mentioning the third party websites and privacy so a little bit more about that again you need to make sure to get people alternatives if they can get to the same information and interact with you if you have a facebook page and you’re having a whole online dialogue there and providing essential information to people but somebody decides that they don’t want to access facebook because they’re concerned about privacy you need to make sure that that the content that’s in that dialogue is also provided elsewhere perhaps on your on your website you need to make sure that you’re posting disclaimer links on your use of Facebook or YouTube or some of these other third-party sites and that links back to your government website and then you need to make sure you’re updating your own privacy policy to tell people about your use of these third-party sites and this is this is pretty new so again if you haven’t if you’re not familiar with this definitely encourage you all to take a look at that that memo now so now we’re going to jump to accessibility which many of you folks know about already it’s referred to as section 508 because of the section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act that called out these requirements for federal agencies I’m there we could spend a whole day or two days or whole week on accessibility it’s so important in fact web managed university does offer classes just on accessibility so if you want to know more about this there’s lots of opportunities to learn more but the key thing with section 508 it provides a nice broad framework for agencies but it doesn’t dictate really specific solutions but it does lay out the principles that you need to be following one of the things that we talked about a lot which is incredibly important here is that one of the things that has been really difficult for agencies is that accessibility isn’t always part of a design lifecycle agencies throw up websites and you know they design them spend a lot of time on the design and then afterwards test for 508 has to be test to see if they work for people with disabilities and then it’s too late in the process and they have to retrofit and it’s a huge cost in burden and so there’s some agencies out there have done a fantastic job of really building accessibility into the design lifecycle Social Security Administration does that and they’ve been really really successful so really encourage you all to do this to test early and often with people with a range of disabilities and so a couple of key things here in addition to store the bought broad pensa principles is make sure to pay attention to file formats you know posting an ad page PDF document isn’t very accessible even for people without disability so try to avoid that again focus on the most critical content and tasks if you know your website has a lot of accessibility issues you can’t fix every page overnight so focus on the most visited pages first and then the other key thing here is there there is a task force that has been working for quite some time to update section 508 so we expect some time in 2011 to have some updated guidance come out on this and if that’s going to and it’s meant to be very forward thinking forward-looking I think it’s going dress things like mobile and end video and all the sort of new technologies coming down the pike so I’m not going to even really go into this slide too much again you’ll get these slides afterwards so you can look at these things in more detail but this isn’t to give you a sense of some of the things that you need to be careful about making sure that you’re not using color alone is the sole way to convey information because people may be you know may have some visual issues they’re making sure people can access online forms allow people to skip repetitive navigation links that kind of thing so make sure that all the folks on your team are aware of these these issues and again we were talking about sort of the broad context here it’s not just your website it’s all the software and applications that you use need to be compliant the other thing is we know a lot of times we’re working with vendors and an outside software and we need to make sure that we work with those vendors to be sure their products are also compliant and one tool that can be used there’s what’s called a voluntary product accessibility template and that helps vendors know what things they need to comply with in order to be compliant with section 508 so in the appendix that we’re going to give to you as part of this part of the slide deck there’s a lot more resources on accessibility and of course on web content go there’s a whole tire section about accessibility there’s a website section 508 gov and so lots of places to learn more so now we’re going to jump to web records so if you folks may be familiar with this this slide of course is from the very last the very end of Raiders of the Lost Ark this is what I think of when I think of web records the sort of this fast you know warehouse of data and content so one of the things that we need to be thinking through is you know what really constitutes a record when we’re dealing with with our federal websites and this is you know this is an issue that’s always always tricky and causing the fair amount of confusion and sometimes viewed as a low priority in some agencies because it’s really just you know it’s not as exciting as some of these other topics so the key thing is that you need to focus on what parts of your website are considered official records and what’s your plan for handling those records in the short and the long term and this is similar to privacy in that you know you shouldn’t be expected to be a you know pull out expert on web records but there are other people who are and those that’s your agency records officers so again if you’re the web person for your agency and you haven’t sat down with your agency records officer that should also be one of the first things that you do as a result of the webinar today if you don’t know who that person is there’s a list on the Nara website National Archives and Records Administration archives gov and get to know get to know that person there’ll be your friend and though they’ll help you work through the process but the key checkpoints here is a webcam is subject to federal records laws notifications is not just hard copy content so all the content that you put up there a lot of times so you can make a distinction about whether it’s the original source I mean if the you know the content already exists in hard copy form that may be considered the federal record that then needs to go to the archives it may not necessarily be what’s on the website but the key thing is there’s a lot of versioning going on and so your agency records officer will help you determine you know what what phase if a piece of content needs to be needs to be retained the key thing is don’t pull down content without determining its record status you don’t want to just you know delete information without knowing what how it’s supposed to be managed your archives that kind of thing so first step is to download your agency records officers and find out how your agency has defined web records established procedures for handling the web records and then the other key thing here and actually this is the link that I am I fail to put in this presentation but i will i will add it before it gets sent out to the to all of you is there they’re new there’s new guidance from nara on how to manage social media and web records and so there’s some good guidance there a lot of people ask you know is a tweet considered a record and you know how do I handle you know information I putting out on Twitter or Facebook etc and so you do need to sit down with your records officers and they’ll help you figure out whether it’s considered a record a lot of times again a lot of times the purpose of social media in the necessary to be posting original content out there but it’s as an additional mechanism for getting content out there so if you’re just retweeting content that’s already existing on your your government website which is many times the case then that doesn’t need to necessarily be considered a record but there are some nuances there so I will include that that link is the follow up here and you all should take a look at that that recent Nara guidance is very helpful so now we’re going to jump to the open government directive I’m just doing a quick time check here okay I think we got about 10 more minutes and that’s good then we’ll all pass over to Nicole you can see there’s a lot there’s a lot to cover here so don’t want you all to feel overwhelmed it’s like I said there’s always places to go to learn more information and to consult with your peers if you have questions on these things but the next one is the open government directive again I think most folks are very familiar with this it was a presidential memo that was issued at the very beginning of the Obama administration basically focuses on transparency participation and collaboration and it basically directed agencies to do a number of things it won’t be followed up with a more specific directive in December of 2009 that said that agency need to do number of things which is published three high-value data sets and then also publish an open government plan on their agency website which again I think everybody’s pretty much done by now and the idea here was also to create some consistency where everybody was using the same URL to point the public to their open government plans so if you go to agency backflesh open or whatever the name of your agency is that’s where you’ll find these open government plans the other piece here is that it had information about how agencies can be using challenges and prizes and it will be issued some guidance on that back in April again you’ll find all this information on the open government page on web content gov but this is another this is a very new exciting area a lot of agencies have already been jumping into the challenges arena they’ve been using a website that our office here is supporting how challenge com if you’re not aware of it that’s a place where agencies can post a challenge to a problem that you want to have solve it maybe you don’t have the resources within your agency to solve and it’s really an exciting opportunity because there’s so much expertise out there in the general public so we can really tap into that so some examples are usda data apps for healthy kids contest earlier this year nasa has been running contests and challenges for a very very long time and so there’s a lot of opportunities out there to actually sometimes even bypass the long procurement process and to put it out there to the open public to get them to give us them some solutions to some common problems so this is something where there were some policy barriers here some agencies didn’t actually have the authority to go out there and do challenges and prizes but there’s actually been a recent legislation called the America COMPETES Act that is now enabling agencies to have the authority to do that so this is an area for everybody to explore we will be having some more sessions through web manage University on how to do a challenge program the other thing that is in the open government directive is that agencies also need to put your foyer report in an open format on your open government web page so just make sure that you’ve done that as well so this is an example of kind of a standard template for the open government web pages some agencies are kind of following this template but again this kind of gives you an idea of the kind of content that you should be providing about your open government initiative what’s the latest news what are the three data sources and then you know some of these required records and reports that you need to be publishing on your website and so the again the idea behind the open government directive is that agency should be transparent about getting public input about about their activities and so here’s a couple just a couple examples HHS is one of the leads on open government they’ve just done a phenomenal job with their open government directive led by their chief technology officer Todd Park this is a really if you’re looking for a model to follow in terms of how to present your open government information this is this is a really good one there’s other agencies who are really at the forefront to as well department of transportation and other agencies so here’s an example of the three required data sets this is what the ADIZ done they’ve done a really nice job here so just I’m sure you all have know that there’s there’s an open government lead for every agency there’s no government source senior accountable official again courage you to meet that person if you haven’t already coordinate with them to make sure that you’re keeping your your data set information up to date and if you’re not familiar yet with datacom that’s become the new place where a lot of agencies are posting their their their data and this is really exciting work that’s being done okay so now we’re going to jump to plain language and then we’ve got a few more to cover and then I’ll pass it on to to Nicole but this is really landmark legislation that we are just thrilled was passed earlier this year there’s a lot of people in the community have been working really really hard to see this this pass and this is really core to so much of what we do because we know that if we’re not writing in plain language people are not getting the answers to their questions and so it’s exciting that we now have some legislation behind us and so the things that the act is now requiring agencies to do and again this is pretty new so um be is still actually going to be issuing some more guidance on this they act requires OMB to consult with agencies in the plain language community to issue some final guidance so we’re going to see that pretty soon they’re going to be issuing it by April which is going to get into a little bit more detail but what agencies need to do but right now with the Act requires agencies to do is to write in clear concise well organized way you need to be designating an agency plain language contact so if your agency has already designated that person get to know who they are as well it does require agencies to train employees in plain language in fact this is a big opportunity for us we’re the web and university staff is working with the plain language community to develop some more training in this area the technical you may be talking a little bit about that as well it does also require agencies to publish your plan for how you’re meeting the requirements of the plain language act and then of course to submit an annual progress report these are these are pretty standard things that are usually in this type of legislation but the key thing here is again if you feel like you don’t have the training that you need in plain language or even taken plain language before everybody needs a refresher course I feel like I’m always needing a refresher in plain language and really encourage everyone on my team to get it because everybody can always improve their writing and there’s some really good offerings not just through web managed university but through the larger plain language community you do need to make sure you have a plain language act page on your website and we’ve provided a nice template for you through the plain language website and then make sure that you have taken a look at the plain language guidelines when you’re writing your web pages are some really great information there are things like make sure you’re always always writing in an active voice avoid acronyms that kind of thing and so if you’re looking for a checklist for your web writers there’s some really good resources there ok just a few more to wrap up we’ve got the the other big thing to know about is the paperwork reduction Act many of you folks who post customer satisfaction surveys on your websites you should be familiar with this because it usually requires agencies to get clearance from omv before you collect information from the public so if you’re going out with any type of a survey or a form thats collecting information from i believe it’s more than nine people in a structured format you actually do need to get OMB clearance that’s what the paperwork reduction Act put in place many many years ago the idea behind this is they did they don’t want agencies overburdening the public with a zillion surveys left and right especially surveys that are poorly developed then aren’t answering questions in a good way that aren’t following you know good survey methodology so the concept behind it is good but I think just the way it’s been implemented has become a puppet inefficient for for government a lot of times is taking agencies a long long time to get the clearance so but the good thing here is that OMB is really trying to streamline this process they are now looking at sort of a fast-track process where certain types of surveys can go through a really quick review especially if it’s you know non-controversial and it’s a very straightforward customer satisfaction survey you’re really just trying to get information about how well someone is is you know using a service it’s different if you’re asking a very complex survey where you’re going to be making budgets and strategic decisions but when it’s just a survey where you’re just trying to get a sense of Hayes the website working for you they know that that can be fast so be looking for that down the pike I think that’s that’s actually really good progress in that area but in terms of the the current regulations there was a update to the paperwork reduction Act the guidance around that in april 2010 mainly around social media because a lot of people are saying hey can we use these social media sites but what about pra if we put up a ideation tool like we’re asking people for you know feedback about our open government plan do we have to get it won’t be clearance to do that it’s taken you know that seems very cumbersome and it doesn’t seem like it really fits with open government and so when we realize this and they put out an updated memo that basically says you can use social media you can use wiki’s you can use these challenges to get general comments from the public and you don’t have to go through and get OMB clearance so that’s also very good progress here at the same time it’s still if it is a more in a survey format you do still need to get only clearance you do need to be careful that if you are still using these social media sites and you’re using it you know you’re putting up a structured survey you still do need to go through the only clearance process and that does include customer satisfaction surveys like the ACSI that many of us use because that is a structured survey it’s not just asking for general comments so make sure you’re still following the existing rules here okay and then a few other things to wrap up the the other languages requirement here is from an executive order in august of two thousand this is a very important one called executive order 13 166 and this was put out and to make sure that people who speak languages other than english are given meaningful access to government information and this is really key because the agencies were finding that people who speak Spanish or other languages are trying to get critical information from the government but a lot of times that information wasn’t available to them and so this is this is obviously a growing area there’s over 20 million people who aren’t efficient in English most of them are Spanish speakers and this number is growing every day especially as we’re seeing the new census data and so the key is to not cut these people out from accessing critical information and i think that the tough thing here is that you know we’re having a hard enough time we all know everybody struggling to provide enough content in english and so people are saying out you know i don’t have the resources to then provide content and other languages as well but the key thing here is to just define that balance and to make sure though that your most critical information is provided to folks with limited English proficiency because the folks you really do need access to the same same content and same information now that being said what though the way that agencies are supposed to approach this is to kind of do an analysis of who those people are and what their most critical needs are this does not necessarily mean that you have to translate your whole entire website into another language that’s ideal but you know with limited resources that may not be practical and so the key is to develop a strategy start small identify what the top tasks are for your LEP your limited English proficiency population and find out what their most critical needs are for information and they may not necessarily be the same top tasks as people who are English speakers so determine your priorities based on your audience’s language needs and there’s always a lot of discussion about this on our listserv about machine translation and there are some very good information now on with content gov about whether to use machine translation or not I think the bottom line there is that machine translation is is typically very unreliable you may use it as a the first swath just that you know get an initial translation but that should never ever be your final translation because it’s very unreliable and inaccurate in many cases so you always need a human element there but there’s a lot of really good resources for you here we know this is a is a new area for a lot of folks or you folks may not feel like to have the expertise that they need in this area but there is a group called the federal multilingual websites committee that can help you that have some really fantastic experts there so definitely rely on your peers to get started here but this really is a very very important area and usually there’s someone in your agency who may be a point of contact on on these issues and so you want to connect with them as well there may be people at your agency who are responsible for implementing programs for people with limited English proficiency so them pretty much the wrap-up slide here is a listing of some other requirements that are important to know about including the paperwork Elimination Act which basically has been a long-standing piece of legislation says the agency should be putting as many services online as possible there’s the government performance results Act known as GPRA that requires you to post your annual performance plan on your website menu hopes are probably already doing that that’s important lobbying and restrictions and it’s pretty straightforward you can’t post information on your website for direct or indirect lobbying we mentioned the no fear act this is where you need to have a link to your no fear act data actually on your homepage the small business paperwork Relief Act requires you to post contact information for small businesses and the digital rights and copyright in fact it should be a slide in and of itself so this is something that I’ll be updating for this presentation this is really really quickly I know I’m saying everything is critical but with copyright this is involving intellectual property which is becoming a huge area in our society right now with more and more information being protected by copyright we need to make sure that any information that we’re putting on a federal public website if it has a copyright protection on it we need to be alerting the public of its copyright status there’s a lot of information on our website that is considered public information that does not have a copyright protect protect on it but in many cases there may be portions of that content that it that our copyright protected whole or pieces of it and if there’s any portion of a piece of content that you put online that has a copyright protection you need to be very very clear that there’s a copyright protection there and whether it can be reused or not so this is something we want to make sure that everybody in the community is very well-versed on there have been cases recent cases where agencies have there have been lawsuits against agencies who have put information up there that has been copyrighted so be very very careful about this make sure you always know the source of content that you’re putting up there it may not necessarily be the words on the page but it could be the graphic or something else that is copyright protected so people are really paying a lot more attention to this now there’s a whole field out there of intellectual property lawyers who are paying attention to this stuff so just want to make sure that that people are aware of the importance of this we did a very nice session on this back in November with some folks from the library Congress and the Copyright Office and a copyright lawyer that we have here at GSA who ran through the ins and outs of copyright so that’s a link from with content gov and so we encourage you to view that if you want to become more familiar with copyright so I think I am ready to hand it over to Nicole so and we will do question and answers when Cole is finished again a reminder that there is the question and answer box at the bottom of your your little GoToWebinar tab there so let me see if I can share my screen so hold on just a moment here alright I’m going to try it right here so Alicia I am passing back to you we should you have it yes Nicole you can go ahead great thank you very much thank you Sheila thank you Alicia it was a fantastic presentation every time I hear she would do that presentation I learn more and more so I have lots of things to to follow up on as well so some of the things that I’m going to talk to out today in best practices will dovetail really nicely with what she’ll has been talking about because we’re focusing on some of the same issues my screen so best practices are not quite like requirements they are sometimes based on research and sometimes based on practice and protocol and the thing with about best practices though is that they’re only really useful if we practice them so I’m going to be talking about the principles behind some of the best practices and then also tell you a few things that we’ve been trying here at GSA and other of folks in the web manager community has been trying to actually turn the principle into a practice a regular practice so I’m going to focus on four areas today top tasks this has been a theme for quite a while one of my favorites making your content more effective and that includes plain language and searching an engine optimization and building mobile sites section 508 and my all-time favorite usability testing so focusing on tasks we’ve talked quite a lot about knowing your top customers I’m also going to talk about making good first impression where you place your most important con your most important content your top task turnt about some training and a couple of other things here so we have talked in the past about identifying your top customers and that doesn’t mean that you exclude customers who may not come in such vast numbers or who may not come as frequently but it’s really important as you go forward especially when you are repurposing your content to different platforms and through different sources to really understand who your primary customer segments are we recently revised the page on audience analysis on web content gov so like to draw your attention there there are a lot of good techniques for doing audience analysis one of the most important things that we can do on our websites is to make a good first impression you probably know from your own experience that when you go to a website emotionally you form a first impression in less than a second you tell yourself this is a professional site this isn’t up to date site this is something that’s well designed or cluttered this isn’t where I need to be somehow we we just know that almost intuitively but it’s not intuition our eyes have taken in and within one second we have determined whether or not this is an appropriate site so you can do there’s a link here to a five second test with some folks in the hallway some customers you know add to see if they can identify quickly what the top tasks are on your website so you can give them more than one second but but really those tasks ought to be able to jump out one of the reasons why they need to jump is based on this research that Kerry Wilson and bob bailey did recently that showed that if people make a correct click on there first click they have about a ninety percent chance of being successful in completing the task whatever they came to do at your website but if they make a wrong click then that drops down to about fifty percent so that’s why that first step is really important this is a slide that Kerry candy Harrison updated recently with some research dr. Katz straub did you probably know that the most important content should be top left on your web pages whether that’s your home page or on other landing pages subject pages that’s because in English we read from left to right top to bottom and the general pattern of reading is a capital F sometimes people say that it may be in a c-shape like this but no matter which less you choose and which model you follow this content that is in the red zone here in this illustration and in the yellow zone that’s where all the eye tracking research shows that people will look first and what CAF added recently is that down this right side here this is where you know on Facebook and Amazon this is where they put most of the advertising and so in addition to above the top where there’s always a banner ad now we’re all trained to think of this is the advertising zone and to zone out we unconsciously believe that there isn’t meaningful content here especially if we see anything that looks like an ad subconsciously we just say to ourself the past that stuff over there so you want to be careful if you put something that’s important over here on this on this right side there’s a chance that your customers won’t see it at all especially if you have something that looks at like it maybe just some featured content with a graphic but it mimics a commercial ad so one thing that people are used to looking at that’s meaningful over here on the right side are utilities you know the social media symbols change the size of the font do some advanced search the search box is usually over top top right if it isn’t in the center so there’s a very appropriate place for utilities bottom line we want to put our most important content in the top top center top left get trained this is kind of the shameless commercial sex commercial section of the presentation here but we do have some wonderful training thats related to best practices and user experience coming up we’ve got a free webinar with less Leslie Okla Haven on January 12 in right plainly it’s an update on the new law and on plain writing principles candy Harrison if you haven’t taken her two day essentials of great customer service for government web managers training it’s it’s a really wonderful beneficial two days we’ve got a card sorting course coming up with Carrie loves and of course some additional courses in mobile and user experience essentials and course our conference and First Fridays which I’ll talk about in a little bit turning our news into actionable content even now there are websites where web managers are encouraged coerced perhaps support news releases to have them dominate that in the home pages and if you find yourself in a position where you have to do that at least try and turn that information into some kind of actionable content and see if you can give the new section the press and media affection its own page to show you an example here I really like this website the US Energy Information Administration they are always announcing the latest of natural gas price or crude oil price but rather than just put news releases they turn them into sections here and there most requested content their latest data so instead of a news release they’ve got the latest crude futures price which came out of the news release earlier in the week but this is how it appears on the on the on the page and then it doesn’t show here but at the bottom of the page bottom left they have a link to their press room and then they have a whole extensive press room it’s exactly it’s tailored for press the press knows that that’s where they need to go if they study the energy sector and so the real win-win the rest of us don’t have to look at press content all the time and the press know where to go okay this is the worst practices for our homepage courtesy of gerry mcgovern a few years ago this is what google would do if they practiced a very very worst oh look there’s the top task down there on the lower left so we all want to do this before we don’t want you want to clutter up with pictures of our i knows a lot of pressure to put the latest picture of your agency head on the website but reflect on this that Sergey and brynn are not on the google google website and they never have been and they’re a very successful website you want to make sure that your findable this sounds so simple but you ought to be able to take your website name gov stick it into the search engine no ww and come up with your site but oops couldn’t do it on IRS I couldn’t do it on justice either which is very surprised I could do it on GSA so that’s an area where we’re doing well just make this quick fix and the reason is that a small number of times a large equals a large number and I did this little roi experiment I took gabbiano usa.gov couple years ago and figured out that the cost to our customers of having to go back and put the information into the search engine again just because there wasn’t just because they put in the URL without the www with about fifty eight thousand dollars per year on the agency side it will take about five dollars worth of a developer’s time to make that change so do please make that change so in terms of top tasks what I want you to think about in terms of putting actually into practice is ID your top three know who your top 3 customer segments are and then get some of those top tasks that those customers come to your website for in that top red top yellow segment of your website right hook or by crook get it done making your content effective Sheila talked a lot about plain language and I’m going to talk a little bit more about that search engine optimization and launching mobile sites so I’m going to in the interest of times speed through these pointers on using plain language we know that we should use the active voice and that we should write for average readers here’s some more information about writing specifically for the web use headings and subheadings and bulleted and numbered lists to support the skipping and scanning that we we all do this is a practice that I tried last year and I got the idea from Jenny reddish when I was working on some of the passport website never reward rewrite existing content right it anew because it turns out that rewriting existing content is a very advanced in task and even those of us who have been writing for a long time will be very challenged by it and if you have a whole long roll of paper towel of existing content turgid content inaccessible content content where people can’t find what they’re looking for trying to rewrite that is a real trouble from task so instead of doing that try this technique ask what your target customer needs to know in the form of questions for example with passports when do I need a passport book and when do I need a passport card what’s the difference between them write that question out and then answer that question use that roll of paper towel of existing content that huge long web page that has everything that you need to know about this subject as your source material to write answers to the questions and when you answered the question stop writing and throw away anything left over this is from page 95 of Ginny radishes book letting go of the words i highly recommend it this will allow you to rewrite that to write a new that existing content that is so troublesome on your pages and it’s so hard to get it redone try this and let me know how it works for you another technique I use is to imagine that each word you write each word you commit their that you’re going to post up on your websites can cost you personally five dollars so be frugal save yourself some money in terms of plain language I really encourage everyone to get plain language training even if you’ve taken training before as Sheila mentioned we all need refreshes and there are new tips and tricks that come out all the time and since everyone has to be trained in plain language by October of 2011 in our agencies we may be in a position where we have to mentor other people and help them improve their writing so it really behooves us to get trained or to get refreshed again review the plain language guidelines and you can offer your comments by january fourteenth i’m particularly interested in getting our communities comments on the writing for the web section i’m rewriting some of the testing section also give your comments on that so do please check out the plain language guidelines plane which is the government’s interagency organization meets once a month and they have very interesting meetings you can you can join the you can join the meeting by conference call or you can come in person and that’s a good way to get involved in the community and especially if you’re going to be mentoring other people in improving their writing and lastly here we are developing currently an online writing for the web course it’s more in-depth than the half-day course that that plain language gov offers and it will be coming to web managed university this spring okay search engine optimization I am going to quickly go through this here you want to make sure that you’ve got keywords in your title tags your page titles your headings and subheadings and all the initial content on your project pages and your homepage this is particularly important when you have different channels you can improve your your placement by the search engines if you have multiple channels but you need to make sure that that rich content isn’t is appearing in all those channels moving on to mobile sites still it’s a minority of agencies that have mobile sites but it’s one of the largest growing areas and we recently had Corey lips and come into web manager University and teach a course on designing for mobile will be offering that again in the future he’s a usability analyst who’s done a lot of testing on their site at FEMA so I encourage you to use em cima gov as a model another another opportunity for mobile would be especially if you want to experiment is to use your internet and create a mobile site I was surprised to read according to Jacob Nielsen’s latest alert box newsletter that sixty percent of the top-rated intranets have mobile sites and this because this is because they have known customer sets and they can also design for the particular mobile devices that the agency gives to their employees which is one of the challenges of mobile mobile design remember you want to keep your design very simple you’re basically designing for an area that’s between a matchbook cover and an index card so you want to really keep it task focused is it here’s a picture of the femur mobile site there are two main tasks for FEMA how can I find assistance after a disaster and the links that people need and and what should I do in a disaster and it lists of different kinds of disasters and then they also have some seasonal information at the top how to prepare for winter and what to do during a storm alright section 508 Sheila talked about how important it is and how detailed you can’t go very deep and narrow with section 508 I’ve given you a couple of resources here most of the problems with 508 are in these four bullets here images and JavaScript and tables and inaccessible alternative so if you fix these aspects on your most important pages you’ve gone a long way even better is not to fix not director of it she’ll I mentioned this as well the top part of this really terrific diagram shows the user experience user centered design method of development can see how much activity there is under analysis and design there’s a lot of testing there’s designed the circle the arrows there mean that it’s iterating we’re doing lots of paper prototypes and wireframes in contrast to the excess of the standard accessibility life cycle which is that you get your standards in place at the very beginning and then it’s kind of flatlined until moments before you implement and then you test and oh no it’s not accessible so we will don’t want to create this this giant mountain of inaccessibility what you want to do here what I’d like you to think about is to include your 508 experts your fibroid coordinators in your original stakeholder meetings when you’re first conceiving of websites or redesigns or new apps include them in bring their very expert eyes and ears into the conversation and then under analysis and design when you’re doing those early designs make sure that you include a few people with disabilities in your testing and get input that way we are getting ready to do that with our first fridays testing at gsa and that’s going to be so we’re going to try and walk the talk with that so speaking of which we want you to conduct discount usability testing this is a best practice to conduct usability testing but it’s hard to put into practice and so here at gsa we started last year program called first fridays on the first friday of every month we conduct a discount you know simple usability tests we have only 3 customer participants but that’s plenty to find the most serious problems on a website we just have them run through some top tasks and we have observers who watch and take notes then we debrief over lunch and we come up with a list for the website stakeholders of the 10 most serious problems and the immediate fixes so we’re not really looking for those things that we can fix after we get a new content management system we’re looking for those things that can be fixed now because almost anything can be improved right now it might be it might be a duct tape kind of improvement but it could be a proven and then we only produce a one-page report and give them a copy of the test recording so there’s no great big honking findings report Steve Krug serve the benefits of doing regular testing like this first fridays is that it allows us to train and mentor people we are inviting people from the community i invite you you’ll get the contact information in the community to come and volunteer to be a participant to be an observer to learn how to organize and to facilitate these tests so that you can set up routine testing of this type at your agencies so it allows us to to train and mentor it also raises awareness when you’re testing once a month your stakeholders your senior managers are more likely to pop their head in and take a look and get those aha moments they can get in no other way than when they’re watching actual customers and of course it allows us to fix real problems on on websites so here’s a reference to why usability testing is the most reliable way to find user problems and here’s the contact information if you’d like to volunteer for first fridays we’re actually testing tomorrow if the first variety of January and we’re doing USA Jobs gov we alternate between GSA sites and strategic other agency sites but we’re very flexible we have the criteria is on the first fridays programmed page you can see but we’re pretty we’re pretty flexible of you if you really really want to do it before we test your site so in terms of usability testing just closing up here I want you to encourage you to study with some of the Masters couple people here who are members of the web manager university faculty Steve Krug you’ve got a great workout called rocket surgeon surgery made easy we use it as a textbook for first fridays and he’s coming to teach his his method in april and danishes now we have an archived webinar occurs in the can very similar technique called usability testing in the wild keep current on the latest in user experience by subscribing to one of these terrific newsletters so that wraps up my portion of the best practices to summarize IDU top three in terms of your customers get those top tasks and the top of the page don’t rewrite write a new be in the three in terms of your search engine optimization tweak your content so that you appear in the top three and emulate femur when it comes to your mobile site include 508 experts and disabled people in your testing and in your early early talks on new websites and web site redesigns establish routine testing first fridays can help and make those quick fixes the Sheila I think it’s time for me to pass this over to you and telling ya where to get help that sounds great thank you nicole that was excellent i just love that slide with the google homepage being you know messed up and cluttered with all that extra content so those are you out there if you want to use that slide I’m sure Nicole be more than happy to have it repurpose so trying to you know fight that battle in your agency in terms of keeping a clean home page focus on your top test that’s a great one to Nicole if you want to go ahead and keep the slides actually okay let me show I think I mean so slides back yeah great because I think I was just going to have you keep that slide up there and I’ll speak to it just a little smoother that way so just real quick folks we just want to make sure you are aware of some great resources in the community that you can always turn to for more help like we said there’s a lot of content that we thrown at you today and so don’t feel like I’m sure you’re feeling a little overwhelmed but just so you know there there’s a lot of help out there if you’re not yet a member of the web managers forum we highly encourage you to join that that’s both a listserv and a social networking site for the community I mean go with content gov and find out about both the listserv in the forum the social networking site itself is on forums web content gov you create a profile and find out who the other subject mec subject matter experts are around government obviously visit with content gov early and often and we are as maybe you know on the list or we are upgrading web content gov we’re going to be blowing about expanding it into other customer service channels that’s that’s pretty exciting that’s coming down the pike I’m very soon get involved in a sub Council of the federal web managers Council there are communities of practice around metrics and social media and usability it’s a great way to become involved use usability of which is sort of a sister site managed by HHS they have a fantastic usability guidelines book that’s a really important Bible for for all of you folks working in usability and design as we mentioned there are lots of other web manager University classes in other topics like accessibility in social media and then we do have these monthly forum series there now actually typically webinars those are the third Thursday of every month we usually invite an agency who’s doing something really innovative and great to come share their experiences with the community and then we also have a series of new media talks and both those forum webinars and the new media talks are always free and with the new media talks we invite providers oftentimes social media providers but people who are have some great products to share with us so we could become more familiar with some of the innovative tools out there and then a lot of this comes down to making sure you’ve got good policies and procedures in place and so there’s a great section on web content gov that provides a link to what other agencies are doing in this area and then the coal if you want to just them flip through the next couple of slides here there’s a series of resources that we provided to you which will be when we send out the slide deck and this just gives you a compilation of different links that we show during the presentation we put them all together in one place so I know there’s a lot of questions out there and so want to get to those as we wrap up with the last 5-10 minutes of the webinar today so Alicia you want to toss them out to Nicole and make sure the first question is does the web requirements that you discussed today apply to die edu domains and other non government that may be funded by the federal government that’s a good question they do not directly certainly it’s a good idea if you have if you know website is in the dot edu domain that it should be accessible for people with disabilities and follow good privacy policy but these requirements apply to federal public websites in the in the government domain but one note is that you know you do need to check and make sure whether they should whether it should be in the edu or gov if it’s a partnership website there may be reasons to have it as a EV you but that needs to be very clear and explicit if it’s fully funded by an agency it may may actually be a requirement to have it in the gov great and also do the requirements apply to internal web pages and intranets and if not is there specific requirements for those things some of them do and some of them don’t generally the OMB policies the things like having a Content inventory having a linking policy those things apply to public facing websites but there are some things certainly section 508 access for people with disabilities that applies to any federal web based product so that that also does apply to two intranets that’s actually a good question we should make that I think more clear on web content go is there any of these policies that apply to to internet so we’ll we’ll do better at doing that but I can tell you that 508 certainly does apply to two intranets that’s the biggie great and I and I do want to announce that the requirements checklists will be updated early next week on web content gov and also Nicole had mentioned earlier a webinar by Leslie ophelie Haven on plain writing and that’s actually on january twenty first not the 12th but you can find all the information on web manager University gov and so another question is what about in regard to the OMB requirements do they apply to web content stored on google docs and other non-government domains again the the policies that represented here are for the dot gov domain so these apply for public-facing web sites now that’s a new arena if you’re using you know Google Docs I assume that you know in in the.com these these requirements do not apply directly but if it’s if it’s content again is on a third party website if you’re putting content on you know Facebook or YouTube or Google Docs you need to make sure that you’re not putting content out there that then is inaccessible to people on you’re in no other fashion you need to make sure that for example if you’re using a Facebook to have an interaction with the public and that’s the only place where you’re providing that content that’s that’s not sufficient you need to make sure that you provide an equivalent content on your on your website great and see what rule covers the p3p requirement I believe that is the the machine-readable privacy policy i believe that is from the ego act of 2002 that the privacy policy needs to be in a machine-readable format not in section 2 of 7 of the eff but it’s in the privacy portion of the Act but if you go to web content go there’s a page about p3p that if the leaf should have the reference and one of the attendees wants to know if there’s any prospect that we may be moving toward a UK style mandate for few consolidated federal websites it’s hard it’s hard to say what’s going to come down the pike that certainly has been discussed that we need to get rid of the websites that are no longer providing public value the UK model though is fairly unique and that they are really trying to consolidate around a couple of mega sites they’re their primary customer citizen portal and then a separate business portal I haven’t heard a conversation that we’re going to go necessarily in that direction at least not in the certainly in the near term but I think the idea is to require agencies to take a look at all the gov’s that they that they own and take a hard look and make sure that all of these websites are providing public value that you know they’re being maintained and they’re accurate that they’re providing value to the public so I would say that it’s very possible that we’re going to see something come down the pike that’s going to require agencies to do that kind of comprehensive review and to you know look for opportunities to consolidate where there is content that overlaps not just within agent with both within agencies and across agencies and I think the federal imagers council will be a big part of that process great do you have any thoughts on occasional use of password-protected content on an otherwise public website this attendee says that they get occasional requests for this you know again it depends in the cold you know you can speak to this too because i think this relates to usability but you know if there’s a real specific need for that and it’s transparent and clear what you’re doing i think it’s appropriate I think it’s appropriate to be able to say you know the section of our website is for you know this intended audience and this is what it’s for but I think you need to be transparent just to want to hit somebody with a passion protection portion of the site and it’s not clear why as being you know why it’s being protected in that in that way and so when people always ask well what’s you know what’s behind a password-protected thing so as long as it’s transparent and it’s clear and and people don’t feel like you’re trying to hide information i think you know it’s certainly acceptable but the key thing is you don’t want to put information for employees on a public-facing web site that actually is part of the LLB policy that information for employees really does belong on an intranet but there’s many instances of sort of extra nets where you know you’re providing information to particular community and some of it needs to be behind a behind a firewall Nicole did you want to add anything to that yeah I think just that having a password is tremendous carrier obviously and so if you are trying to encourage people to use in to access content you don’t place that barrier there but it does get more into into being an extranet when you sometimes you have to offer that for instance of registration for classes and that kind of thing so to be very very judicious and to realize that it’s it is a barrier and it will stop people from being able to to use the Site fluidly thank you and Nicole while you’re speaking is first fridays participation available online or in person only right now it’s in person only that the testing is in person only but what we are offering is once a quarter we’re going to open up the observation portion of it to remote observers so you’ll be able to through the webinar watch the three and listen in to the three participants you probably won’t be able to do the debriefing portion of it but we can provide you with the results of the debriefing afterwards so that will be a way in which we can give people a chance to to take a look at it if you’re not if you’re not here in the region great and also you have discussed the web design and where to place specific information so that it’s noticed and one of the attendees wanted to know how does the focus on the task matrix account for web design trend and placing the navigation on the right instead of left or vice versa I think I understand the question is where is the best place to place the navigation so that you can see it most of the time the navigation is either now a global navigation is along the top and then more local navigation is down the side down the left side or it might all be down the left side people are used to seeing it there if the navigation is placed on the right hand side which is where people are used to seeing advertising and utility content you would probably find in practice that they would have a hard time finding it not quite sure if that’s what the question was so if the person needs clarification they should send it in again okay great and what agency or entity audits the government websites to ensure they’re compliant with the OMB web policies is it Gao or is it a different agency for each type of policy hold on take a stab at that really there’s there’s not an entity that sort of plays that policing role it really is up to each agency to ensure that they’re in compliance and so you know agencies need to take it upon themselves to develop the tools that they need to be to be monitoring their progress in these areas yeah federal interest council could take that on you know we would want to do it in a collaborative way in a helpful way so that people can see well you know these are the agencies are struggling with this let’s try and help them out here because you know not every agency is going to be at the forefront of every single area so but right now there’s not there’s not really that enforcement mechanism so it’s very possible at any point Gao could do a review to find out the extent to which agencies are complying so I mean certainly we should all be doing it because it’s very possible that something like that could come down the pike great we just have two more questions and one is if an agency’s in the midst of a midst of a redesign where could they said or where would you suggest that they send screenshots for design feedback all you want to take that yeah there is some screenshots the first thought I had was there is a company called I think its user testing com where if you have a website that’s up already for something a small amount of money you can get a person to test some tasks and give you some feedback and you actually get the video of it it’s a very nice little service I would say that if you would like to get some expert review on some screens that are in progress what I would suggest is that you join the user experience sub council through the forum there are about 80 people and probably a couple of dozen the film are very quite active who are on that list and you could ask people for feedback and give them a way to get you know the screens and I’m sure that you would get some good feedback there’s some really fine user experience people on that list so that’s what I’d recommend that’s great I used to add to that there there’s some really good techniques that are linked to off of web content of the usability section in terms of doing that kind of design work in terms of developing some paper prototypes before you get too far down the road making them high fidelity you want to you know definitely get some testing early on in the process because once you’ve coded everything in HTML or what you it’s harder to get that kind of feedback so there there’s a lot of really good resources there one of the things that we’ve also done is if you haven’t listened to the webinar with the state of California that we did a couple months ago they talked about how they develop some common design templates and that is an area I think we really would like to move to is if we can develop sort of a common design template library that we could post on web content gov so that not every one of us is starting from scratch we know that there’s a lot of common features and common design principles that we should all be applying to our websites that doesn’t mean that every federal website needs to move to a common look and feel right away but that if there’s a way that we can start to build some consistency in our design rather than you know always wondering well how large the search box be some stuff should just be common and consistent across all of our sites so that’s something that we’d like to see coming down the pike so at least I know we’re pretty much past our time here I think we got to most of questions is that right yeah there’s just one more that I think you can answer quickly what would you suggest for federal contractors that may not have a duck of email address to get involved in some of these activities or some and some of the council initiatives do you have any suggestions for that yeah well there’s a number of things first of all the listserv is only open to govern employees sometimes because we discuss you know products and services on that list serve so for you know contracting rules we can’t open them up to contractors but this forum networking site formed at web content gov is open to any contractor with a government email address so that’s a great way to become involved in ask questions of other folks in the community there’s other groups out there like GovLoop where there’s some really good conversations going on I would say to connect with the the employees on your web team and ask them to you know keep you informed of what’s going on we’re also having our annual conference May seventeenth through 18th here in downtown Washington and that is open to contractors with a government email address and that’s a fantastic two days of networking you could lead a unconference session during the conference on a topic that you care about them to you know also showcase some good work that’s going on in your agency so there’s there’s lots of good ways to become involved great thanks Sheila and just before we wrap up thank you both to Sheila and Nicole for instructing the webinar today and I want to draw everyone’s attention to the chat box our course evaluation link is there we will also send it to you via email but if you could fill that out it is really helpful for us for future WMU courses also we have to free upcoming webinars in January as Nicole mentioned Leslie offal havens right plainly and update on the plain writing act and principals and also a wordpress new media talk with the city of reno and then at the end of the month kandi Harrison will be teaching her two day course on delivering great customer service essential for government web managers so go to web manager University gov and check out our full schedule thank you for attending today’s webinar and that concludes today’s event thank you

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