Status Report

Hokey smokes, Bullwinkle! Beat Google!

By SpaceRef Editor
October 4, 2010
Filed under ,
Hokey smokes, Bullwinkle! Beat Google!

Brian Dunbar: If you’ve visited often enough, you’ve been asked to take a survey about the site. It asks you about the content, whether you find the site relevant and other things, including some demographic questions. I’ve you’re one of the people who have answered, thank you. The survey provides one of the key metrics that lets us know how we’re doing. (Here’s an explanation of how the ACSI works, for the technically inclined.)

So how are we doing? Pretty well it seems. Our scores for September and for the third quarter of 2010 were the highest we’ve ever gotten. We continue to outpace web sites generally and most other federal-government sites, and we remain fairly close to some of the most widely used commercial sites. Our September score of 83 wasn’t too far behind Netflix and Amazon, and it was well ahead of some others. (Here’s a chart for comparison.)

And, heck yeah, we were higher than Google last month. I can only recall one other month that we were even; Google is usually the highest rated site of all that use this particular service. Most likely it’s a one-month aberration, and the more interesting question is what caused them to drop so precipitately. But you’ll have to ask them.

The real value of this survey is in comparing our ratings over time. In that respect, we’re doing very well. Over any standard time period (months, quarters, years) our customer-satisfaction rating continues to climb. We’re convinced that’s because we pay attention to what you say, whether it’s via e-mail to us, indirectly through your click paths across the site or through the survey itself.

We take what learn and use it to improve the site by developing prototypes and taking them to usability testing, then incorporating the testing results into our development. We’ve done three major overhauls of the site (1997, 2003 and 2007) and with each new iteration our scores have climbed. We also continue to make minor changes within the existing design, like deploying our new video player last spring and changes to how we display top news stories last month.

So thank you again for all your feedback. We’ll keep paying attention.

SpaceRef staff editor.