Why and how we chose most-visited pages
Before this year, we had been choosing two new pages to grade each year. But we heard from agency Plain Language representatives that unless we re-graded pages we could not recognize the work of agency teams to apply Report Card judges’ feedback and revise pages. We agreed. So this year, we decided to re-grade the same most-visited pages we had graded last year. In addition, from now on we will re-grade at least one page each year. Last year, we identified these pages using each agency’s 12-month usage data or, absent that data, via the public data on www.analytics.usa.gov.
Why and how we chose urgent help pages
For 2019, we decided to grade urgent help pages because we wanted to see if our agencies gave the public information in plain language when minutes matter most. To select an urgent help page for each agency, we identified an agency-specific topic people would most likely search for when in need; we googled a phrase users would likely use (For the Department of Energy, we searched, Help! How do I prepare for a power outage?) and then we chose the first entry in the search results from the relevant agency’s domain, as long as it was a page giving instructions for a public audience.
How we evaluated this year’s pages
We used the same rubric as in past year’s and the same team-judging approach as in past years. For more, see “How we graded.”
Most-Visited Agency Webpages
1. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau: How to Negotiate with a Debt Collector
2. Department of Agriculture: Choose my plate
3. Department of Commerce: National Weather Service
4. Department of Defense: Tricare
5. Department of Education: Student Loans
6. Department of Energy: How do wind turbines work?
7. Department of Health and Human Services: Lyme disease — Signs and Symptoms
8. Department of Homeland Security: Citizenship and Immigration Case Status Page
9. Department of Housing and Urban Development: Ginnie Mae
10. Department of Justice: National Sex Offender Public Database
11. Department of Labor: Healthcare Job Page
12. Department of Interior: National Park Service
13. Department of State: Passport Forms page
14. Department of Treasury: Daily Treasury Yield Rate
15. Department of Transportation: Recalls database
16. Department of Veterans Affairs: My Health — VA’s Personal Health Record
17. Environmental Protection Agency: Do-it-yourself bedbug control
18. National Archives: Veterans’ Service Records
19. Securities and Exchange Commission: Public Company Research Page Database (EDGAR)
20. Small Business Administration: Write your business plan
21. Social Security Administration: My Account Page
Urgent Help Pages
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
- Search phrase: Help! Lender discriminated against me on a mortgage application
- https:// consumerfinance.gov/ask-cfpb/my-application-for-a-home-mortgage-loan-was-denied-what-can-i-do-if-i-think-the-lender-discriminated-against-me-en-342
Department of Agriculture
- Search phrase: Help! My kids need free meals at school
Department of Commerce
- Search phrase: Help! I’m being asked to be part of a survey. They say it’s from the Census Bureau. How do I know if it really is legitimate?
Department of Defense
- Search phrase: Help! I’ve lost my military ID card. What do I do?
Department of Education
- Search phrase: Help! I don’t know what FERPA is
Department of Energy
- Search phrase: Help! How do I prepare for a power outage?
Department of Health and Human Services
- Search phrase: Need help, opioids
Department of Homeland Security
- Search phrase: Help! A hurricane is coming
Department of Housing and Urban Development
- Search phrase: Help! I need affordable housing
Department of Justice
- Search phrase: Help! Should I report a ransomware attack to the FBI?
Department of Labor
- Search phrase: Help! My workplace is dangerous
Department of the Interior
- Search phrase: Help! Can I drink the water in this national park?
Department of State
- Search phrase: Help! Where’s my passport?
Department of Transportation
- Search phrase: Help! Can I still drive if my airbag is recalled?
Department of Treasury
- Search phrase: Help! IRS agent says he will call police if I don’t pay
Department of Veterans Affairs
- Search phrase: Help! Veteran thinking about suicide
Environmental Protection Agency
- Search phrase: Help! A truck spilled chemical on our street
- Search phrase: Help! I need urgent proof my dad served in WWII
Securities and Exchange Commission
- Search phrase: Help! Is this investment a fraud?
Small Business Association
- Search phrase: Help! I need an emergency business loan after a flood
Social Security Administration:
- Search Phrase: Help! How do I get a new social security card?