Usability of E-government Portals and Case Law Databases in Theory and Practice, Especially from the Viewpoint of Web Forms

Krisztina Szeróvay

Abstract

A significant expectation has appeared towards the governments to keep abreast with the development of information society: in recent years, there has been an increasing necessity of implementing public sector services, interactions and transactions on the web. The goal of this paper is to introduce the concept of web usability by analyzing some European and national e-government portals and online case law databases, such as the website of the European Court of Justice and the EUR-Lex site that allows access to European Union law. The study gives an overview of the main aspects of web usability (like the way users read on the web and writing web content), and emphasizes the importance of constructing usable web forms. To evaluate these sites, a usability test was carried out; the findings of it are also examined. The results of this study indicate that while there is a wide range of services, features made available by the EU and the Hungarian government, the errors revealed by the usability tests could harm the credibility of the organization behind the website or a form, and could make the users frustrated enough to leave these sites. However, these errors are easy to fix; doing so could improve the usability of these pages significantly. As a result, citizens would be encouraged to use electronical ways to contact the state, which could have a great impact on the efficiency and performance of the public sector. 

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