From Amber Alerts to job openings, weather news to tourism information, state websites convey a wealth of information to residents and visitors alike. But how good of a job are they doing?
That was the question that the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation set out to answer. You can read their full report here.
The study focused on four specific areas: page-load speed, mobile friendliness, security, and accessibility.
Both loading on desktop computers and mobile devices was tested. Not surprisingly, the scores were much better at the desktop – 77% of state government sites passed their test, while only 50% passed for mobile page-load. Alaska scored best nationally on page-load speed, followed by Georgia and Florida. At the bottom of the list: Delaware, Oregon and Pennsylvania.
Given the ever-increasing numbers of people who access the web through mobile devices, this should be a high priority. However, after every state site was graded on such factors as adequate spacing between touch elements, optimized content to fit on a mobile device, and display text large enough to read easily, 27% received a score below the passing grade of 75. Mississippi, Iowa and Montana finished in the top three. At the bottom: New Hampshire, Nevada and Louisiana.
This one is concerning, especially with ransomware attacks against public sector sites on the rise. The study reviewed two security features: the use of Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS), a standard protocol to encrypt communications between web browsers and websites; and Domain Name System Security (DNSSEC), a set of protocols used to verify the IP address associated with a particular domain name is authentic. Just 44% passed the HTTPS test, and only 13 percent of state government websites had properly enabled DNSSEC for their domain name.
ADA compliance stipulates that websites allow everyone — even those with visual, auditory, learning or physical impairments — to experience the full range of services and experience provided by a website. As more functions move online as part of a digital front door or even smart city strategy, the need to serve these citizens with an accessible website becomes more crucial. Fortunately, states scored better on the accessibility test, with 74% passing. Michigan, Georgia and California ranked in the top three, with Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Indiana at the bottom of the list.
When was the last time you reviewed your public sector website for security, accessibility, page-load speed and mobile friendliness? If it’s been a while, 360Civic can help. Our IT and security experts can review your site and measure its effectiveness in these and other areas of concern.