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Usability Principles and Techniques

What It Is

Following basic usability principles and techniques is a best practice in managing your agency’s website. Usability, as it relates to the web, is the measure of the quality of a user's experience when they interact with your website. See the Usability.gov website for a complete definition.

Usability testing is one of the best ways to find out what is or isn't working on your site.

Why It’s Important

Research shows that people cannot find the information they seek on Web sites about 60% of the time. This can lead to wasted time, reduced productivity, increased frustration, and loss of repeat visits and money. See the Usability.gov website for more research on why usability is important.

Specific Requirements

OMB Policies for Federal Public Websites require agencies to (#1A) “to disseminate information to the public in a timely, equitable, efficient and appropriate manner” and (#2A) “maximize the quality, objectivity, utility, and integrity of information and services provided to the public.” By following usability principles, you’ll create websites that ensure your users can find what they’re looking for and are satisfied with their experience.

How to Implement


  • Usability.gov is the primary government resource on usability, including the latest usability research and training opportunities.
  • Web Manager University (formerly Usability University) offers webinars, short seminars, and 1- and 2-day courses on web usability, design, and other topics for web managers.
  • User Experience Task Group provides leadership, networking, and consultation services to assist federal government in making electronic information, products and services more usable, useful, and accessible.

Content Lead: Nicole Burton

Page Updated or Reviewed: September 16, 2008

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