Web Principles

EPA’s Web governance is designed around eight guiding principles endorsed by the Quality and Information Council, the Web Council, and other stakeholders in the second quarter of FY2012.

Guiding principles for EPA’s website:

  • User-centric
    •  Focus on helping people accomplish their online tasks at www.epa.gov
  • Content-driven
    • Organize online content by topic and geography
    • Follow the six C’s of content  (compelling, clear, complete, concise, correct, coordinated across organizations)
  • Leverage existing assets
    • Reduce (costs), reuse (existing authorities), recycle (effective policy/procedures/standards) agency resources
    • Use existing authorities, accountability, funding
  • Prioritize efforts
    • Implement topics and tasks focus
    • Direct resources, both staffing and funding, to priority topics and content
  • Strategic resource
    • Recognize that online communication is an essential tool in accomplishing EPA’s mission
  • Accountability defined
    • Designate senior executives (SIOs, PADs) for accountability
    • Comply with comprehensive standards
  • Trained and qualified staff
    • Specify skills, training and certification required for editors in chief, content coordinators, and infrastructure coordinators
  • Infrastructure supports content goals
    • Optimize technology to effectively support the agency’s online communications.

The key tenets that support the implementation of the principles:

  • Comprehensive scope: online communications has grown from solely EPA's website, www.epa.gov, to encompass other channels and tools, including social media.
  • Central leadership, decentralized production: OEAEE and OEI are responsible for making policy decisions, with input and discussion with all of EPA. The development of content for communicating online occurs in each Office and Region.
  • Strategic resource management: online communications is the primary means by which EPA communicates with the public.  It must be managed and supported as an enterprise resource, not be driven by hundreds of individual organizational decisions.  This includes holding senior managers responsible for meeting established requirements.
  • Focus on requirements, not organizational structure: there is no single staffing model that fits all offices since the structure of the communications, content development, and Web support functions varies across the agency.  Each office must determine how it can best meet the stated requirements and be accountable for meeting the requirements.
  • Develop staff: an expert corps of trained staffed focused on online communication is needed to manage an effective online presence. Relying on people for whom online efforts are a small percentage of their jobs is not effective.  Training and a formal certification program is needed for Web professionals in order to hold them accountable to EPA standards.
  • Separate content from presentation to enable responsive design to be able to simultaneously publish in the mobile, tablet and desktop environments.