Why are Government Websites so Bad? Unveiling the Truth Behind Poor Quality Government Websites

Last updated on November 21st, 2023 at 11:37 am


In this post we talk about why government websites are so bad and how to improve them.

A man uses a laptop computer with many monitors

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Why Are Government Websites So Bad?

The government sector has been a leading force in providing services and information to citizens around the world. As a result, many governments have invested heavily in ensuring citizens can access their data and services through their websites.

The quality of government websites can have a major impact on the public’s perception of their government. Unfortunately, many government websites are notoriously difficult to use and often considered to be “bad”. In this article, we will explore why government websites are so bad and suggest some solutions for improvement.

Frustrated laptop computer user, top view mock up copy space - why are government websites so bad?

Unfortunately, many citizens find themselves asking “why are government websites site bad?”

The average quality of government websites is often lower than the quality of websites from other industries. This is due to a combination of factors, including the complexity of the information that must be presented, the need for security and compliance, heavily bureaucratic processes and policies, and the limited resources and budget available to develop and maintain the website.

Information Overload

The complexity of the information that must be presented on government websites is often much higher than on other websites. Government websites must often provide a wide range of information and services that are not typically found on other websites. As a result, the design and navigation of the website must be carefully considered in order to make it easy to find the information and services that the user is looking for.

The difficult part is that it can take a ton of resources to make an easy design for websites that are a tremendous amount of information. And while many for-profit companies like to keep their website designs simple and easy to use, this simply may not be possible for many government websites out there.

Lack of Funding

One of the primary reasons why government websites may appear “bad” is the lack of funding and resources allocated for their development and maintenance. Governments typically have limited budgets and may prioritize funding for other areas such as healthcare, education, and infrastructure. As a result, the development and maintenance of government websites may not receive the necessary financial support to keep them updated and user-friendly.

Many pools of funding that might be available for government website development may actually not be used for the development itself. For example, while some government websites have moved to cloud hosting, this is relatively new. Because of the types of data that can be hosted by government websites, many organizations still host their websites locally. This means money spent on hardware and infrastructure engineers must be burned from the website budget before any development is actually even done.

Overly Bureaucratic Processes

Furthermore, many government agencies are large organizations with numerous departments and staff. Decisions regarding the development and maintenance of websites may have to go through several levels of approval.

Multiple layers make changes and development slow as those decisions may not be a priority for departments, and this can result in a lack of resources being allocated to this area. This can result in government websites that are outdated, slow to load, and difficult to use.

Strict Security and Accessibility Standards

In addition to the lack of funding and resources, government websites are often required to meet strict security and accessibility standards, which can make development and maintenance more complex and time-consuming.

The need to comply with these regulations can also impact the user experience by making the website slow and difficult to use. Thus, it is important for governments to allocate adequate resources and prioritize the development and maintenance of their websites in order to improve the user experience.

Why do Government Websites Look so Bad? Examining Common Issues with Government Websites

The most common issues with government websites are the lack of a modern, user-friendly design, slow loading times, and difficult navigation.

Poor Government Website Design

The lack of a modern and user-friendly design is a common issue with government websites. This can result in a website that is cluttered, difficult to navigate, and doesn’t have an intuitive interface. As a result, users may struggle to find the information they need and may become frustrated, leading to a high bounce rate and low user satisfaction.

Poor design can cause users to grab the wrong information or find no information at all, which decreases the value of the website altogether.

Slow Loading Times

Slow loading times are another common issue with government websites. This can be caused by a number of factors, including outdated technology, large amounts of data, or a lack of resources for website maintenance. In today’s fast-paced digital world, visitors expect websites to load quickly, and slow-loading websites can result in a poor user experience and a decrease in traffic. These issues leave government websites not working the way they should.

Difficult Navigation

Outdated content and broken links are a frequent problem with government websites. This can be due to a lack of resources for website maintenance, which can result in old information being left on the website and links that no longer work.

When users can’t find the information they need, it creates frustration and confusing. Also, it can reduce the credibility of the government’s website and lead to a negative perception of the government’s commitment to providing accurate and up-to-date information. Outdated information and broken links can lead users to ask, “why are government websites reliable?”

Web design software - why are there so many poor government websites?

Identifying Causes of Poor Design

The poor design of government websites is often caused by a combination of factors, including limited resources and budget, lack of expertise, and outdated technology.

The limited resources and budget available to develop and maintain government websites often results in websites that are not as attractive or user-friendly as those from other industries. Additionally, the lack of expertise in web design and development can lead to websites that are difficult to use and navigate.

Finally, government websites are often built using outdated technology, which can cause slow loading times and other issues.

Solutions for Improvement

There are several solutions that can be implemented to improve the quality and usability of government websites.

First, governments should invest in hiring web development experts to design and develop their websites. This will ensure that the website is built using modern web technologies and is user-friendly.

Second, governments should invest in better hosting solutions to ensure that the website is fast and reliable. The government’s move to create special cloud hosting environments within Azure and AWS will go a long way towards making this possible.

Finally, governments should invest in regular testing and maintenance of their websites to ensure that they remain up-to-date and functioning properly.

Final Thoughts

Government websites can have a major impact on the public’s perception of their government. Unfortunately, many government websites are notoriously difficult to use and are often considered to be bad. By understanding the causes of poor design and implementing solutions for improvement, government websites can and should be improved to provide a better user experience.

FAQs

Sharif Jameel is a business owner, IT professional, runner, & musician. His professional certifications include CASP, Sec+, Net+, MCSA, & ITIL and others. He’s also the guitar player for the Baltimore-based cover bands, Liquifaction and Minority Report.

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