Which agency has the most read-able website?

Monday - 11/14/2011, 8:54am EST

Fergal McGovern, CEO, Visible Thread

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Agency websites can sometimes be overly complex with technical language, which can make it difficult for a visitor to comprehend the information the agency is trying to convey. To address this problem, the VisibleThread Website Index recently used four criteria to measure complexity and readability of government websites.

Fergal McGovern, Visible Thread's CEO, spoke to the Federal Drive with Tom Temin and Amy Morris about which agencies lead the pack and which ones have room to improve the clarity of their websites.

The VisibleThread Website Index employed four criteria — readability, passive language, long sentences and word complexity density — to determine how clear a website is.

Topping Visible Thread's index were the Bureau of Labor Statistics and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Both sites had low levels of long sentences and passive language. They also used easy to understand terminology, which positively impacted readability levels. Both the U.S. Geological Survey and the National Cancer Institute also scored well, but they were marked down in readability and passive language, respectively.

At the bottom of the index were the Federal Railroad Administration, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation. A high proportion of long sentences, high levels of passive language, a high degree of complex language and poor readability ratings made these agency websites the worst performers on the index.