Philippines govt sites to have standardized 'look and feel'

Various are learning to build their sites based on a standard template to improve ease of use and enhance the government's online identity.
Written by Jamie Yap, Contributor

Philippine public agencies are undergoing training to learn how to develop their Web sites based on a standard template designed to give all sites a common "look and feel", aimed at enhancing the government's online identity.

Webmasters from various agencies are being taught how to integrate policies and standards of the government Web site Template, using Joomla, Drupal and WordPress as content management systems (CMS), the Manila Standard Today reported Monday.

So far, two 5-day training sessions on basic and advanced Joomla CMS have been held between March 18 and March 22 at the National Computer Center (NCC) and the Advanced Science and Technology Institute (ASTI) located at the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman in Quezon City.

Developed from a standard template, Philippine government sites are aiming to have a common "look and feel" among them.

Webmasters from 162 participating agencies in Metro Manila are expected to attend the training sessions scheduled until April. Training in the various provinces will be done by region come May at state universities and colleges, the report added.

"Through the standardized Web sites, local government units, national government agencies and state universities and colleges will experience ease in navigation and use of digital assets," said Antonette Torres, iGovPhil project manager. "More than that, content, news updates, public documents and other services will be easily accessible to the citizens. Issues about government transparency, efficiency and accessibility will be addressed."

Launched last June, the Integrated Government Philippines (iGovPhil) project is a joint initiative of ASTI and the Information Communication Technology Office (ICTO)--both from the Department of Science and Technology (DOST)--that aims to implement interconnected and interoperable government online applications and services.

The Government Web site Template is a collaboration between iGovPhil and the Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office (PCDSPO).

Training sessions on how to use the government Web site template are being conducted in anticipation of an executive order mandating all government sites to have a standard look and feel, the newspaper report said.

It cited an NCC study which found content and structure to be significant issues on government sites. Users were confused by the presence of several menus, and heavy multimedia content resulted in slow loading time on some Web sites, it noted.

The template initiative is also part of DOST's plan to improve accessibility and security of government sites by providing a central Web hosting facility, according to the report.

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