KNOXVILLE, Tenn., Jan. 10, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A top Washington publication has named the Tennessee Valley Authority's newly redesigned website, www.tva.com, one of the five best in the U.S. government.
An assessment by Congress.org of CQ-Roll Call Group, which publishes Congressional Quarterly and the Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call, said TVA's website "jumps out at users right away" with "high-quality images" that "capture a visitor's attention."
"Nice, big pictures, quick links, concise menu, good use of color and no clutter all make this a successful website," the publication said. "The interior pages are well organized and individually designed to meet the needs of the content."
The publication consulted with Internet designers and other independent professionals in the Washington area to determine the government's best-designed public websites. In addition to TVA, web experts also gave top-five rankings to the U.S. Election Assistance Commission; the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Disaster Assistance site; the Central Intelligence Agency's World Factbook, which provides data on countries around the world, and the Obama administration's Recovery.gov site, which tracks how tax dollars are spent.
The Congress.org assessment particularly praised the TVA website's "I Want to Know About" panel, which provides quick links to the site's nine most popular topics: energy efficiency, construction permits, employment, renewable energy, TVA history, land and shoreline management, facts and figures about dams and power plants; and information on flood and storm relief.
While several government agencies with highly rated websites reportedly have spent millions of dollars on design work and content for their Internet presence, often using outside consultants, TVA accomplished its website redesign with a three-person team of writers and designers on the TVA Communications staff, working over about four months with TVA's Information Technology staff.
"We drew upon TVA's extensive photo library, subject-matter experts across the corporation and our own internal staff to make the TVA website simple, attractive and easy to use," said Jerry Collins, TVA's senior manager of creative services, who led the redesign effort during the summer of 2010. "We looked at what people were most interested in, and we asked users for suggestions on how to make the site more useful and user-friendly."
While lamenting that "some of the federal government's websites are downright awful," the Congress.org website report also said that "great government sites do exist and, at their best, perform a vital task: make important information easily available to citizens."
"TVA is working to be one of the nation's leading providers of cleaner low-cost energy, and part of our job is to tell people how we're doing that," said David Mould, TVA's senior vice president of Communications. "The TVA website is a key tool in that effort."
The Tennessee Valley Authority, a corporation owned by the U.S. government, provides electricity for utility and business customers in most of Tennessee and parts of Alabama, Mississippi, Kentucky, Georgia, North Carolina and Virginia – an area of 80,000 square miles with a population of 9 million. TVA operates 29 hydroelectric dams, 11 coal-fired power plants, three nuclear plants and 11 natural gas-fired power facilities that can produce about 34,000 megawatts of electricity, delivered over 16,000 miles of high-voltage power lines. TVA also provides flood control, navigation, land management and recreation for the Tennessee River system and works with local utilities and state and local governments to promote economic development across the region. TVA, which makes no profits and receives no taxpayer money, is funded by sales of electricity to its customers. Electricity prices in TVA's service territory are below the national average.