Most Government Web Sites Too Advanced, Survey Says
By Ronald Roach
The Taubman Center for Public Policy at Brown University released the results of their fourth annual survey on the readability of U.S. e-government Web sites. Examining more than 1,600 state and local government Web sites, as well as 60 federal sites, the results revealed that the average government Web site is written at the 11th-grade level, despite the fact that half of all Americans read at the eighth-grade level or lower.
Two-thirds of Web sites reviewed were written at the 12th-grade level, while only 12 percent were at the eighth-grade level or lower. Among the findings: 83 percent of corrections department Web sites, 79 percent of economic development sites and 67 percent of health/human services sites were written at the 12th-grade level.
In addition, only 33 percent of state and federal sites satisfied the W3C standard of Web site accessibility, while 24 percent met the “Section 508” federal accessibility guidelines that are geared to assist the disabled. The Benton Foundation, in conjunction with the New York State Forum, is funding a policy briefing report from the Taubman Center to discuss policy recommendations of the research. The report will be released in October. For survey results, see
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