early last week. Hoeven received word this week that North Dakota ranked second among the top five most citizen-friendly Internet gateways in the nation.
"Technology driving access to information is a key component of economic growth activities in North Dakota," Hoeven said, "Our Information Technology team has done a wonderful job of making our web site user-friendly and highly informative for all of our citizens."
According to Vaughan Harries, the site's designer and a web developer with the state's Information Technology Department, the governor's new site works well with nearly all Internet browsers; complies with the federal rules requiring user-accessibility by people with disabilities; and uses resizable text, allowing seeing-impaired clients to alter text size as required.
"Our main goal was to produce a 'state-of-the-art' site that complies with all current statewide and federal standards for accessibility," Harries said. "I believe we have achieved this in the new design."
Launching the web site coincides with the recent release of a new study conducted by researchers at Indiana University-Bloomington on behalf of PricewaterhouseCoopers. The report found that the states with the best Web sites offer citizens a chance to customize the sites by creating personal profiles and choosing relevant content based on those profiles.
According to the report North Dakota is among the top five state web portals offering the most comprehensive level of e-service. The report goes on to say: "North Dakota�s portal not only provides online access to a variety of services...but also promotes open and equal access to government. This state web site exemplifies citizen-centric e-service delivery. Top-notch in all aspects of functionality, the North Dakota portal is exceptional in it usability. Not only is the portal layout simple and easy to use, but the portal also provides comprehensive online help and searching capabilities, as well as new user training for inexperienced web users."
Researchers found that many of the sites failed to offer even basic contact information, and most state portals did little to install constituent trust.
Last July, North Dakota shot from 38th to 8th place among the states in a similar nationwide survey of "digital democracy," making the state the most improved in the nation, Hoeven said.
"This ranking is just another signal that our technology initiative is paying off," Hoeven said. "Our advanced information-technology infrastructure is a great public service to citizens, and a great incentive to high-tech businesses seeking to expand or locate in North Dakota."
North Dakota's portal is located at www.discoverND.com.
A copy of the report is on the Web at: http://endowment.pwcglobal.com/pdfs/JohnsonReport.pdf
Contact: Kathy Ibach or Don Canton
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