Study finds dip in satisfaction with government Web sites

Whether it's meaningful or not remains to be seen, but the perception certainly isn't what IT Team Obama would want to see: Satisfaction with the Web sites of federal government programs took a dip in the first quarter, according to a longtime performance tracker.

The report, released today from the University of Michigan and e-government sponsor ForeSee Results, finds that citizen satisfaction drops half a point from last quarter's all-time high to 73.6 on the American Customer Satisfaction Index's 100-point scale.

The decline since last quarter may be attributable to high expectations for e-government in Obama's first 100 days in office and to a fall in satisfaction with program sites, which are sites focused on a particular federal government program rather than on an agency or department. Program sites overall decline 3% to a score of 74, while agency sites (74) and department sites (73) remain on par with the previous quarter. Program sites may be suffering from a lack of attention, focus, and resources during the transition from one administration to the next.

Personally, I'd give them another quarter or two before trying to draw any conclusions, but this clearly is an area in which the Obama camp must deliver on its lofty campaign promises.  

And here's the most interesting nugget I found in the press release about this study: "With two sites scoring 90, the Social Security Administration has higher scores than any private sector Web site measured by the ACSI."

This one I will take a crack at explaining: Older folks do vote in large numbers and Social Security is always a hot-button political issue. Making a visit to those Web sites seem like a day at the beach is akin to keeping the roads plowed.

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