RALEIGH, N.C. — The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has updated its website design guidelines for states to help improve the quality of government websites.
The department has changed the guidelines for state websites to reflect the changing needs of government agencies and organizations, which have a larger role in shaping public opinion.
The changes are based on a new survey by the U.K.-based consultancy firm, Ipsos Public Affairs, which found that more than half of Americans believe the way they see their government is “trending towards greater partisan polarization.”
The agency also released a list of the five most commonly cited reasons for government website redesigns, based on the findings of the Ipsos survey.
The top five reasons for redesigns are:A) Increased competition;B) The increasing number of federal employees;C) Increased political polarization;D) Decreased access to government information; andE) The loss of trust in government.
The survey also found that 47% of Americans said they had never used a government website before, compared to 36% who had used a website for a decade.
The agency said the changes reflect a change in the way Americans interact with government websites, which is increasingly dominated by social media and video.
The new guidelines were released Tuesday, as the federal government faces a wave of criticism over a lack of transparency and the mishandling of documents by a top official in the Department of Veterans Affairs.
In addition, the agency has faced criticism for what it has called its lax oversight of health care providers and a lack in transparency on its website redesign process.
The HHS website design guidance, which states that federal agencies should have more than one website, has been criticized for being overly broad and leaving out critical elements of a website.
The guidance does not specify what elements should be redesigned, but it does say that the guidelines should emphasize the “quality, efficiency, and user experience of federal agencies.”