Review of state government websites finds functional, security deficiencies

A detailed review of 400 state government websites found that nearly all of them are deficient in some foundational functionalities, including load speeds, mobile readiness, security and accessibility, Government Technology magazine reported Wednesday.

The review — conducted by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation — assessed page-load speed, mobile friendliness, security and accessibility. Only one state government-run website passed all its tests: Virginia’s site for hunting and fishing licenses.

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In the page-load speed category, 77 percent of desktop sites passed while 50 percent of mobile sites passed. In terms of overall mobile readiness, only 67 percent passed. The report cited a list of common problems, including content not configured for mobile screens, or too-small buttons and links. Security was similarly insufficient, as was public accessibility.

Authors of the report offered a set of recommendations for how state policymakers can help with these issues, including mandating that government sites implement cybersecurity best practices; requiring government websites be mobile friendly; consolidating websites so that there’s a single digital face for government; and finding local partners who can help with accessibility, wrote Government Technology‘s Zack Quaintance.

Wisconsin

As with all states, Wisconsin’s websites for new business registration, vital records, fishing and hunting licenses, elections, traffic citations, driver’s licenses and taxes, as well as the primary state website, were assessed. The aim of report authors was to focus on the most-used government functionalities and evaluate the sites based on the citizens’ earliest interactions with them, Quaintance wrote.

» Download Wisconsin’s data

With exception to the elections site, Wisconsin’s sites received high marks for mobile friendliness, all scoring above 90. Overall, the state’s new business registration page performed the best, with 67 points on average in each category. The state’s primary website fared the worst, averaging 55 points per category.

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