Improving government internet sites through comprehensive evaluations in developing countries. case: mexico

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Improving Government Internet Sites through Comprehensive Evaluations in Developing Countries. Case: Mexico

Luis Antonio Delgado, Miguel Ángel Chávez, Andrés Gómez
Presidency's Internet System, Mexico City, Mexico

luis.delgado@sip.gob.mx
miguelangel.chavez@sip.gob.mx
andres.gomez@sip.gob.mx

Abstract

Government Internet Sites, little by little, are becoming one of the most importantcommunications and service tools for citizens, particularly in developing countries where the Internet penetration rate is much lower than in developed countries.

This level of Internet penetration also has a negative influence on the conception of what a government Internet site should be like, particularly in public administration departments.

In view of this, after analyzing governmentInternet sites in key countries in the sphere of e-government, the Presidency's Internet System (SIP) of Mexico decided to reorganize Federal Government Internet Sites through the publication of two guides: Image Manual for Government Websites and Development Guide for Government Websites to establish the basis for developing them. In addition, and as the main tool for improvement, a series ofperiodic evaluations were carried out of each of Federal Government’s Agencies, a total of 225 Internet sites.

The first evaluation, carried out in 2007, was a self-diagnosis, as a result of which all the Institutions were highly rated, although this result did not reflect reality. As a result, in 2008, the first integral evaluation of all the Internet sites was carried out by SIP personnel. Thisconsisted of a series of items grouped into 5 main sections: Information Architecture, Institutional Image, Accessibility, Quality and User Experience. In order to accredit the evaluation, a score of over 7.8/10 had to be obtained.

The results were surprising. There was an overall improvement in the quality of Internet sites, as regards both image, contents, technology and information managementsince, as a result of support from the Civil Service Secretariat, there were repercussions within the institutions, such as administrative sanctions in the event they failed to pass the evaluation.

Proof of this is the annual study conducted by Dr. Darrell M. West, Vice President and Director, Governance Studies of The Brookings Institution, who placed Mexico in 20th place in 2008 (rather than50th, as it was rated in 2007, an improvement of 30 places in one year).

Another achievement was creating awareness among the Internet Site administrators of the things that are essential to consider when developing and maintaining a government website. The evaluation also made it possible to offer quality, first world-standard Internet sites for visitors that have to interact with FederalGovernment.

The aim is to continue with this effort, by raising standards, particularly in the areas of accessibility and quality and striving to ensure that these efforts gradually permeate other government levels such as state and municipal ones.

Keywords: Website Evaluation, Ranking, Sanctions, Score, improvement

Introduction

Over the years, Mexico has undergone major transformationsin every sphere: economic, social, political, technological and governmental among others. These transformations have occurred slowly, generally following more developed countries, although in some cases, it has developed its own initiatives.

In the Internet sphere, although federal, state and municipal governments have striven to bring government to citizens and citizens to government by thismeans, these efforts have been insufficient, particularly in relation to Internet sites.

At the start of President Calderón’s administration, the Presidency's Internet System (SIP) undertook a detailed analysis of the current situation, specifically within its area of competence: Government Internet Sites.

The results showed that although the country had steadily advanced in various...
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