For each best-practice pattern that we identified, we provided an example website and elaborated on why it works. While many top websites share the same attributes, some are especially good examples that everyone in the public sector of digital services should look up to. These websites, which represent some of the best in government UX design, are examined in detail on the links below:
- Simple design: The White House
- Clear interaction cues: California DMV
- Easy navigation: Gov.uk
- Engaging visual design: Save Our Water
- Plain language: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
- Interactivity: U.S. Small Business Administration
- Graphic design and branding: U.S. Department of State
When evaluating website user experience, we use a framework common in expert reviews, for instance, design award competitions such as the Webby Awards. We looked at content quality, interaction, ease of navigation, attractiveness, cleanliness, and simplicity of the layout. We also assessed the quality of visual design and if websites featured a custom design outside of the standard and generic templates.
We took note of details such as a modern design, distinctive branding, and authentic and engaging photography. We wanted to evaluate how, if at all, a more custom solution has an impact on the user experience scores and if the two are correlated. (It turns out they are, as our selected websites are all custom designed.)
While there are many other aspects and attributes of great user experience websites, we focused on these common patterns that you can hopefully take away and implement on your website. However, when considering implementing patterns like the ones we present here, always regularly research user needs, validate any updates with your target audience, and review the website analytics data. What works in one case might not work in another, so use the examples below as inspiration and a starting point in your own project, and customize it to your project’s objectives.