615 House and Senate Web Sites Examined in 2006 Gold Mouse Report
The Web site of Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-27) was honored today, Monday, February 26, 2007, by the Congressional Management Foundation, a non-profit, non-partisan management consulting and research organization in Washington, D.C., for being one of the best in Congress. The site, http://higgins.house.gov/
, was the only Western New York site and only one of three in New York Sate receiving an award in The 2006 Gold Mouse Report: Recognizing the Best Web Sites on Capitol Hill, which analyzed 615 congressional Web sites including those of all Senate and House Members, committees, and official leadership sites.
“In today’s digital world, Web and email based communication is an important component of providing the best constituent service possible,” said Congressman Higgins. “It’s great to be recognized, but even greater is the opportunity to take this report and use the findings to further improve our website.”
The Gold Mouse Report and Awards are part of the Congressional Management Foundation’s broader research project, “Connecting to Congress,” funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation. For this project CMF partnered with researchers from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, University of California-Riverside and Ohio State University to study how Members of Congress can use the Internet to improve communications with their constituents and to promote greater participation in the legislative process.
Specifically noted in the report is the “Interactive Casework” section on Congressman Higgins’ website.
“Representative Brian Higgins’ Web site shows that he has identified the needs of his various constituencies and has developed easily accessible content that meets their needs online,” said Bell. “Congressman Higgins is to be congratulated for being among the best of the best Web sites on Capitol Hill, and the Congressional Management Foundation is pleased to present the Congressman with the 2006 Silver Mouse Award.”
Web sites were graded on how well they incorporate five basic building blocks that extensive research has identified as critical for effectiveness: audience, content, usability, interactivity, and innovation. Using these building blocks, an evaluation framework was developed by CMF and their research partners at Harvard, Ohio State, and the University of California-Riverside that would be fair and objective, while still taking into account important qualitative factors that affect a visitor's experience on a Web site. Eighty-five Web sites were cited in 2006, with 18 winning Gold, 27 winning Silver, and 40 winning Bronze Mouse Awards.
A full copy of the report, the 2006 Gold Mouse Report: Recognizing the Best Web Sites on Capitol Hill, is available on the Congressional Management Foundation’s Web site at www.cmfweb.org