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When Hope's a Bummer: Citizens Slightly Less Pleased with e-Gov in the Age of Obama

BY Nancy Scola | Wednesday, April 29 2009

Citizens' satisfaction with government websites ticked down every so slightly in the first quarter of this year. According to a new report that applies the American Customer Satisfaction Index to users' happiness over federal e-government sites, satisfaction dropped half a point from Q4 2008's all-time high to 73.6. There's an obvious explanation for the decrease that you'll probably already thought of by the time you get to the end of this sentence. The authors of the report thought of it too -- peoples' expectations over just how awesome digital government should be have been inflated by the wired '08 presidential campaign and the early days of the Obama Administration. We expect more. Thus, we're more disappointed today when we dial up, saaaaay, oh, I dunno, FCC.gov, and find a horrendous mess of unnavigable text waiting for us there. Wasn't Obama supposed to fix that?

NextGov's Aliya Sternstein has more. And if you work on or with a federal website, you're probably dying to know your score. Check out the handy little chart above. Keep in mind, as the report notes, that satisfaction with websites tends to hover near certain levels depending on the kind of site involved; for example, a score of 75 isn't bad for a site that simply publishes news and information. It's less impressive for a site where people expect to do stuff, like pay their taxes or apply for a government grant.

As a benchmark from outside government, mighty Google got an 86.