At SXSW, I spent a couple of the days at the sessions dealing with government topics. One of the things that was brought up quite a bit was that State websites are almost universally horrible. They’re poorly designed and finding information easily is near impossible. Utah is one exception to this rule, but really, it’s just about the ONLY exception.
I decided to try and find the Unemployment signup pages for a couple of states, just to see how easy or difficult it was. It was NOT easy. I remember a couple of years ago, when I was laid off, getting to the Texas unemployment online signup was full of twists and turns, and pages of descriptions and explanation. I just wanted to go to the signup page. So I decided to create a simple page with links to the unemployment signup pages for each state… hopefully skipping all the explanations and description pages.
As I was searching for each state, I was surprised at how outdated the sites were. So many required Internet Explorer, and a couple prevented me from even accessing the pages using Chrome. And Pennsylvania… Netscape Navigator? Really? Well, it IS using classic ASP… so I guess it is to be expected.
I think I may do this for other commonly needed pages, too. In one of the sessions, someone mentioned how difficult it was to find info about building permits… but since that gets into county and city pages, it may be beyond the scope of this project. I just need to figure out what pages are most commonly needed.