Websites are the centerpiece of the US federal customer experience (CX). To gauge how well they serve customers, we evaluated seven of the most-visited sites. Our new report reveals how well they perform on 27 proven criteria and what they — and government organizations everywhere — can do to improve.

The full report, “The Forrester Government Wave™: US Federal Government Websites, Q1 2020,” has complete scorecards and actionable insights. In brief, we found that federal websites:

  • Offer similarly strong functionality and user experience (UX). This consistency is good news for customers: Stressful life events — like going to college, retiring, or planning a big vacation — require customers to interact with multiple agencies’ websites simultaneously.
  • Have room for improvement. None of the sites that we reviewed are exceptional. On the positive side, every site organizes and explains offerings from the user’s perspective. On the other hand, no website elevates the experience with the latest best practices.
  • Perform about as well as the average US investment firm website. The average scores of the US federal and investment firm websites match. However, the top-three-scoring investment firms outperform every federal website we studied. Federal agencies can study top investment websites for improvement ideas. Agencies should also look beyond investment firms to find inspiration in other companies with top-notch digital experiences.
  • Must work harder to make users feel safe and confident. Federal websites need to provide better visual evidence of security, proactively help users accomplish tasks, communicate clearly without being confrontational, and ensure accessibility to the rapidly growing aging population.