Serving Citizens' Needs: Minimizing Hurdles to Accessing Government Information Online

E. Hargittai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


With the rapid spread of the Internet across society, government institutions are taking advantage of digital technology to distribute materials to citizens. Is merely having a Web site enough, or are there certain usability considerations site creators must keep in mind to assure efficient public access to online materials? This project looked at typical people’s ability to locate various types of content online, in particular, their ability to find tax forms on the Web. Findings suggest that people look for content in a myriad of ways, and there is considerable variance in how long people take to complete this online task. Users are often confused by the ways in which content is presented to them. In this paper, two common sources of confusion in users’ online experiences with locating tax forms online are distinguished: (1) URL confusion and (2) page design layout. Ways are also suggested to decrease these two sources of frustration, yielding less exasperating and more productive user experiences.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-41
JournalIT & Society
StatePublished - 2003


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