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Designing for .gov Websites

 

whitehouse.gov – full use of space

vets.gov website – uncluttered, user-focused, and easy to navigate

U.S. Government websites are uniquely designed to present information to a very large audience without selling a product or service. In the blog post, “The US Government needs design too…” the author stated that “…US government’s web design is awful.” The blogger refers to new visual standards that designers can follow to achieve a consistent look across government sites. But I question whether standardization of button format and color palette is the best strategy for good design. Wouldn’t users be better served if designers concentrated on a set of guiding principles? Successful websites should individually reflect the happy marriage between design aesthetic and functionality, as it relates to the mission of the organization.

The main goal of any federal web design should be customer-focused usability while providing easy access to essential resources. Compare the screenshots of the whitehouse.gov and vets.gov home pages as viewed on my display. Both are visually uncluttered and have strong aesthetics. Although the vets.gov is not full screen, the site is useful, timely, and specifically designed for the needs of veterans. Also, note the use of black and white portraits. It’s visually impactful, but also indicates a digital show of respect to every veteran that gave service to our country.

2 Comments

  1. Jun Hee Kim wrote:

    Great comparison between two websites using the principle of information visualization.

    Wednesday, September 20, 2017 at 9:31 am | Permalink
  2. Aisyle Deriquito wrote:

    I could understand why the government sites would like to keep the consistency, though I agree with you as well. I think that the general public would spend more time actually perusing the web pages if they weren’t so rigid and bland. I can’t help but thinking as I look at those two screen shots, how boring it might be to have to design a standardized site.

    Sunday, September 24, 2017 at 3:27 pm | Permalink