The 4 most popular .gov websites aren’t mobile friendly

Top 5 .gov websites
Source: analytics.usa.gov

Despite a digital strategy issued by the White House two years ago calling for more mobile-friendly citizen services, the top four most-visited federal government websites over the past 30 days fail this test according to new analytics numbers released by the General Services Administration.

The new analytics.usa.gov dashboard launched last Thursday, culls data from 300 (of “approximately” 1,350) executive branch domains, highlights the most-visited websites and breaks down visitor numbers by devices, browsers and operating systems.

The top four trafficked websites over the past 30 days are irs.gov, weather.gov, usajobs.gov and nps.gov.

None of these websites, however, adhere to responsive web design standards, a development approach that allows for websites to easily adapt to a user’s device, be it phone, tablet or desktop, and provide an appropriate, enjoyable user experience.

According to the analytics, 25 percent of visitors to .gov websites are using mobile devices. Including tablet users, more than a third of citizens are getting a less-than-optimal user experience while visiting these sites.

Those top four domains alone have received nearly 200 million visits over the past 30 days.

One notable omission to the data is healthcare.gov, which does meet mobile standards, but is not included in the analytics numbers.

“Our services must work well on all devices,” says a post on the White House website announcing the analytics dashboard.

“Over the past 90 days, 33% all traffic to our sites came from people using phones and tablets. Over the same period last year, the number was 24%. Most of this growth came from an increase in mobile traffic. Every year, building digital services that work well on small screens becomes more important.”

Per a May 2013 federal digital strategy published by the White House, “Digital Government: Building a 21st Century Platform to Better Serve the American People,” agencies should enable “the American people and an increasingly mobile workforce to access high-quality digital government information and services anywhere, anytime, on any device.”

“We are also optimizing Federal websites for mobile devices and creating mobile apps to ensure government services are available to citizens anywhere, anytime and on any device,” wrote former U.S. Chief Technology Officer Todd Park and former Chief Information Officer Steven VanRoekel announcing the strategy in 2013.

According to its “Minimum Computer Requirements for Free File Fillable Forms” page, irs.gov doesn’t support the Safari web browser, which drives 20 percent of all visitor traffic to .gov domains and is the default browser for iPhone and iPad users.

The analytics tool was built by 18F, GSA’s Digital Analytics Program and the new U.S. Digital Service.

About Luke Fretwell

Luke Fretwell is the founder of GovFresh. He is also co-founder and CEO of ProudCity. Connect with him on Twitter and LinkedIn or email at luke@govfresh.com.

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