Building Trust & Effectiveness in Congress
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methodology

Characteristics of Effective Committee Websites

In past posts, we've discussed the characteristics of effective Member (personal office) websites. While some overlap exists between award-winning Member and committee websites in terms of usability and timeliness, there is little commonality otherwise.

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Award-Winning Characteristic #9: Diversity of Communications Content

In the 9th part of our continuing series about Gold Mouse criteria, we are covering the importance of including all of your various types of media on your site, such as press releases, floor speeches, videos, and op-eds.

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Award-Winning Characteristic #8: Floor Proceedings

In the 8th part of our continuing series about Gold Mouse criteria, we are covering what you should include on your site about the ongoing activities on the floor of the House or Senate. Most citizens are not familiar with what is going on in Congress or the schedule it keeps, and your website should be a place where people can learn about the legislative process and congressional action.

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Award-Winning Characteristic #7: District/State Information

In the 7th part of our continuing series about Gold Mouse criteria, we are covering what district/state information to post on your website. Having a robust section on the geographical area your Member represents demonstrates the connection your Member has with back home. This part of your website can go a long way to building relationships with your constituents, particularly if you use this section to highlight specific accomplishments of people from your home district or state.

Beyond relationship building, this part of your site may often be the first place people check when they're looking for basic information about your district/state, such as census information or a map.

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Award-Winning Characteristic #6: Legislative Process Information

In the 6th part of our continuing series about Gold Mouse criteria, this week we cover the basic information an award-winning website should have about the legislative process. Understanding how Congress works and how bills pass can be quite daunting tasks for the average constituent, and congressional websites can serve as a go-to place to learn more about congressional procedures.

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Award-Winning Characteristic #5: Promoting Accountability to Constituents

In our continuing series about Gold Mouse criteria, this week's topic is about using your website to communicate the Member's work in Congress. A fundamental tenet of representative democracy is that elected officials should be accountable to their constituents, and your website provides an easy-access point for the average citizen.

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Award-Winning Characteristic #4: Constituent Services and Casework

In our continuing series about Gold Mouse criteria, this week's topic is about meeting the needs of your constituents online. Every Member office website should answer constituent questions about how the office can assist them with specific federal agency issues. In addition, your website should include information on all of the basic services that congressional offices provide, such as internships, flag requests, and tours. Fortunately, most of the drafting of this content need only be done once, and does not require significant updating unless policies change.

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Award-Winning Characteristic #3: Usability

In the 3rd part of our 10-part series on building an award-winning congressional website, we cover the ease of using your website as an average user. A good website interface should allow visitors to move quickly and smoothly through the website's various pages utilizing well-designed navigation tools and menu options. While it may seem trivial or obvious, a poor interface can greatly frustrate your constituents and prevent them from finding the information or assistance they seek.

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Award-Winning Characteristic #2: Timeliness

In the 2nd part of our 10-part series on building an award-winning congressional website, we cover the importance of keeping the information on your site up-to-date with items like new press releases and recent floor speeches.

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