Compared to the private sector, the public sector faces unique usability challenges. At our usability conferences, for example, participants often ask why government agencies should even care about usability. After all, private companies are typically compelled by the realities of profit making; they embrace usability to increase their customer-conversion rates and improve their marketing. Government entities, however, don’t have such profit-oriented motivations.
So why should government agencies care about usability? The answer is that usability’s return on investment (ROI) can be realized outside the realms of sales and profit. If taxpayers are already funding an agency’s mission, diverting a tiny fraction of that funding to improve usability will improve overall agency performance — a desirable outcome. Thus, any time a government organization’s mission includes interacting with the public or disseminating information, website usability can easily be justified.
For government intranets, the answer is even easier: projects that increase civil servants’