Towards Automated eGovernment Monitoring

Morten Goodwin, Dissertation
2011 unpublished
eGovernment solutions promise to deliver a number of benefits including increased citizen participation. To make sure that these services work as intended there is a need for better measurements. However, finding suitable approaches to distinguish the good eGovernment services from those which need improvement is difficult. To elucidate, many surveys measuring the availability and quality of eGovernment services are carried out today on local, national and international level. Because the
more » ... ty of the methodologies and corresponding tests rely on human judgement, eGovernment benchmarking is mostly carried out manually by expert testers. These tasks are error prone and time consuming, which in practice means that most eGovernment surveys either focus on a specific topic, small geographical area, or evaluate a small sample, such as few web pages per country. Due to the substantial resources needed, large scale surveys assessing government web sites are predominantly carried out by big organisations. Further, for most surveys neither the methodologies nor detailed result are publicly available, which prevents efficient use of the surveys results for practical improvements. This thesis focuses on automatic and open approaches to measure government web sites. The thesis uses the collaboratively developed eGovMon application as a basis for testing, and presents corresponding methods and reference implementations for deterministic accessibility testing based on the unified web evaluation methodology (UWEM). It addresses to what extent web sites are accessible for people with special needs and disabilities. This enables large scale web accessibility testing, on demand testing of single web sites and web pages, as well as testing for accessibility barriers of PDF documents. Further, this thesis extends the accessibility testing framework by introducing classification algorithms to detect accessibility barriers. This method supplements and partly replaces tests that are typically carried out manually. Based on training data from municipality web sites, the reference implemen-3 First and foremost I would like to thank my wife, Hanne Goodwin, for love, moral support and encouragement.