|Slogan||Government made easy|
|Type of site||e-Government|
Spanish at GobiernoUSA.gov
|Content license||Public Domain|
|Launched||September 22, 2000|
USA.gov is the official web portal of the United States Government. It is designed to improve the public’s interaction with the U.S. Government by quickly directing website visitors to the services or information they are seeking. USA.gov links to every Federal agency and to State, local, and tribal governments, and is the most comprehensive site in—and about—the U.S. Government. While the primary target audience of USA.gov is the American public, about 25 percent of USA.gov’s visitors come from outside the United States.
Until January 2007, USA.gov was known as FirstGov.gov. The name was changed in response to user suggestions and telephone surveys.
USA.gov is part of the Office of Citizen Services and Communications in the General Services Administration (GSA), and includes the Spanish-language web portal to U.S. government services, GobiernoUSA.gov (formerly espanol.gov). The portals, which are funded by U.S. taxpayers and are offered as a public service, are a member of the Office of Citizen Services and Communication’s family of websites that also includes pueblo.gsa.gov (the Federal Citizen Information Center), Kids.gov, ConsumerAction.gov, and WebContent.gov.
USA.gov began in 2000 when Internet entrepreneur Eric Brewer, whose early research in parallel computing was funded by the U.S. Department of Defense, offered to donate a powerful search engine to the Government. That donation helped accelerate the Government’s earlier work to create a Government-wide portal. In June 2000, President Clinton announced the gift from the Federal Search Foundation, a nonprofit organization co-founded by Brewer and fellow entrepreneur David Binetti, and instructed that the portal be launched in 90 days.
FirstGov.gov was launched 87 days later on September 22, 2000, during the first-ever webcast originating from the White House Oval Office. GSA and 22 Federal agencies funded the initiative in 2001 and 2002. Since 2002, USA.gov has received an annual appropriation from the U.S. Congress.
USA.gov allows visitors to find information on its site in several ways: through a search engine; an index of links organized by audience, by topic, and by organization; a database of frequently asked questions; RSS feeds; e-mail alerts; and live chat.
A part of USA.gov, GobiernoUSA.gov pulls together all of the U.S. Government’s Spanish-language websites and makes them easily accessible to the public in one central location. The site, which was developed by Spanish speakers, represents an important outreach effort to some 43 million Americans who report speaking Spanish at home.
GobiernoUSA.gov features more than 900 external links and provides access to more than 125,000 Government pages in Spanish. Although most of the resources are federal, the site also links to Spanish-language content provided by 42 states, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and local government websites.
Web visitors also can search all Federal and State web pages for Spanish content through the site’s search engine, e-mail their questions and receive responses in Spanish, or call 1 (800) FED-INFO for help in Spanish and English. Spanish-speaking visitors can sign up for e-mail alerts in Spanish to let them know when new content is added to GobiernoUSA.gov. The website also offers information on the same topic in both English and Spanish by simply clicking on a toggle button.
USA.gov actively promotes best practices within the Government Web manager community to improve the overall quality of U.S. Federal websites as well as public access to Government information.
USA.gov has a leadership role on the Interagency Committee on Government Information (ICGI), formed to meet requirements of the E-Government Act of 2002 (Public Law 107-347, 44 U.S.C. Ch 36). The ICGI drafts recommendations and shares effective practices for Federal Government information access, dissemination, and retention.
USA.gov sponsors the Federal Web Managers Council, which the ICGI established in January 2004. The council is an interagency group of about 40 senior Federal Web managers from every cabinet-level agency, several independent agencies, and representatives from the judicial and legislative branches. The council developed recommendations for Government-wide standards for U.S. Federal public websites to comply with Sections 207(f)(1) and (2) of the E-Government Act of 2002 and other requirements.
The Federal Web Managers Council serves as the steering committee for the much larger Web Content Managers Forum, an online exchange of more than 1,000 Federal, State, and local web managers.
In collaboration with the Federal Web Managers Council, USA.gov also sponsors:
USA.gov is a critical destination for information during national disasters. After the September 11, 2001, attack on the United States, USA.gov became a major tool for the U.S. government to provide the most accurate, timely, and comprehensive information, resources, and Government services available during that crisis.
Several years later, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina in August 2005, USA.gov coordinated web-related resources among more than 1,000 government Web Content Managers Forum members. The forum was the only group in place with the ability to develop a coordinated Federal Web response to Hurricane Katrina. It quickly adopted guidelines for Federal Web managers, such as priority content posted on Federal websites would be information related to saving life, sustaining life, and facilitating comprehensive recovery, and that duplication of information would confuse the public and should be avoided.
For three weeks after the disaster, USA.gov participated in daily conference calls among key members of the web forum to learn what the public was asking about most frequently by phone and e-mail. The web forum members categorized the subjects and assigned them to Federal websites based on their areas of expertise.
For example, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention became responsible for all health and safety information related to the hurricanes. The other Federal websites then linked to that site for that particular information, using the same terminology across the various Federal websites.
The continuing communication among the members of the Federal Web community allowed them to react quickly and make adjustments easily as they identified new or changing information. In addition, the public could find information more easily because the major Federal Government sites were all linking to the same sites and using the same terminology.
Finally, the categories identified during Katrina matched information people would be looking for in "any" disaster, whether natural or man-made. The Federal Web community can now re-use a good deal of the content developed in response to the hurricane crisis, to enable them to be even better prepared when the next disaster occurs.
USA.gov serves as a model for other government websites and strictly adheres to all requirements and guidelines for Federal websites, including those established by the E-Government Act of 2002, the U.S. Office of Management and Budget's (OMB) Policies for Federal Public Websites, and Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 regarding website accessibility. The site also strictly follows requirements of the Privacy Act, the Federal Information Security Management Act, and other privacy and security requirements.
USA.gov has won numerous awards and media endorsements, including Time Magazine's 2007 "Top 25 Sites We Can't Live Without," listing among the "Best of..." by Money Magazine, "Favorite Places on the Web" by the Chicago Sun Times, "Hot Sites" by USATODAY.com, and "Top 100 Classic Sites" by PC Magazine. It also has won "#1 in Global E-Government Readiness" in the United Nations' Global E-Government Readiness Report 2005; "#1 in Overall Federal e-Government" by Brown University’s Taubman Center for Public Policy; and the "Innovations in American Government Award" by Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.
GobiernoUSA.gov was awarded as a finalist for the Arroba de oro, ("the golden @"), has won the Web Content Managers' "Best Practices" award, and consistently scores among the highest in Government or private sectors in the American Customer Satisfaction Index.