All information disseminated by VA websites must be accurate and relevant to the maximum extent possible.
At a minimum, VA websites will:
- Be reviewed by the content owner or manager no less than monthly to ensure the currency and integrity of published information. Annually, relevant subject matter experts will conduct an in-depth content review. In addition, content owners or managers should update content as quickly as possible in situations such as emergencies, change in regulation or law, and medical information with an impact on patient safety.
- Have a site map (entitled “Site Map”) that provides an overview of the major content categories across the site. There must be a link to the site map from all web pages within the site.
- Be organized in a logical and intuitive way so that visitors can easily find the information they are looking for.
- Help visitors easily get to the content they need and want most, with minimal complexity of navigation and the fewest drilldowns. Content must be easy to read and without excessive text and/or graphics.
- Must categorize (e.g., thesaurus, taxonomy) and organize information so that website visitors can find the information that they seek in accordance with Section 207(d) of the E-Government Act.
- Provide information about regulations on any organizational website (where that VA component issues regulations and has a website) and will also link to the regulations.gov portal.
- Link to the VA forms website when recommending the use of a VA form. For a non-VA form, link to the authoritative source for that form (e.g., General Services Administration). Links to online forms will be to the authoritative source and used whenever an online form is available. All or a portion of an approved form may not be created and or altered for use on a VA website for conducting official business, i.e., collecting data from Veterans or other visitors.
- Contain sensitive information that could be used to exploit VA resources.
- Duplicate or recreate content that already exists on other websites. Links to authoritative content sources shall be used. Administration-centric content should be linked to that Administration’s website. Health care content will link to Veterans Health Administration, benefits content will link to Veterans Benefits Administration, burial and memorial content will link to National Cemetery Administration.
- Publish Empty Pages (“Under Construction” or “Coming Soon”) - New VA websites, pages, revisions to page sections, or applications should not be "live” — available to internet or intranet access — until cleared and ready for use. VA content managers and application developers must not post any pages containing an "under construction," “coming soon,” or similar notice. A robots exclusion file should not be relied upon to prevent search engines from indexing files since not all search engines recognize them. An imprecise "Check back soon" notice only adds to user frustration.