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.
Questions to be answered:
- Can users navigate the Member's website and find what interests them even if they have never used the site before?
- Does the website have all of the traditional organizational and navigational features users have come to expect?
- Is the website readable for all ages?
- What impression does the look and feel of the site leave with the user?
- Is the content up-to-date (see previous post on timeliness) or are the links broken or outdated?
The specifics we look for:
- Overall consistency and clarity are crucial for any user-friendly site.
- Navigation should be straightforward with pages that are easy to find and return to.
- All fonts, font sizes, colors, etc. should make for a readable site.
- The site's organization should be logical.
- Tools that can contribute to a very usable website include, but are not limited to:
- A functional search engine;
- A site map;
- Clear menus and sub-menus;
- Scannable and hyperlinked content; and
- "Breadcrumbs" that indicate what specific section of the site the user is in and how they got there.
Award-Winning Example: Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT)
10 Characteristics of an Award-Winning Member Website: