State of the Beach/Methodology/Website
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The Internet provides an enormous wealth of data and can also be a great educational resource for the general public. The report uses the following criteria to evaluate the quality of state coastal management websites:
We evaluated each website on its ease of use, its navigability, and the ability to readily locate important information - its organization. Difficult navigational design can render a website ineffective. This can act as a deterrent for people looking to obtain information on the Internet because it is just too hard to find the information. In order to provide effective information access, the website should present information in a clear, simple format and in a way that is easy to navigate.
We evaluated each website on its overall content. The content criteria identify the amount of relevant information on the beach health indicators that can be found on the website(s). Specifically, Surfrider believes that coastal management program websites should provide information on: the beach health indicators; relevant laws and policies; publications; maps and photos; key contacts; and links to other government agencies and private sector groups that have relevant beach health indicator information. Where appropriate, website highlights were identified.
Each website was checked to see how current its information was. Websites should be updated when there is new information or changes in information. Any changes or new information should be promptly posted on the website.
Threshold criteria for the website indicator are:
- 7 to 10 - An up to date centralized coastal zone management website that is easy to use, well organized, content-rich with access to laws, publications, photos, maps, key contacts, and numerous links;
- 4 to 6 - A fairly up to date website that provides access to information including laws, publications, key contacts, and affiliated agencies; and
- 1 to 3 - A website that provides only limited information on beach health indicators, with few links to publications, databases, maps, laws and other information sources.