An Online Test Bed Improves IRS Web Tools

August 2013
CEM assists the IRS in designing an evaluation and test bed to assess the effectiveness of potential online services.

A better online experience makes it easier for taxpayers, while also bringing in revenues that fund government services. That's been a guiding principle in the IRS's efforts to enhance its Web presence through IRS.gov. Now, the IRS is improving and expanding the content and usability of its Web-based services, through its new Office of Online Services (OLS), aided by MITRE and key industry partners.

Drawing on best applied practices in the private sector, MITRE and the IRS designed the Online Services Innovation and Evaluation Environment (IE2), an evaluation and test bed. IE2 enables taxpayers and tax preparers to help assess the effectiveness of potential online services. It also allows the IRS and MITRE to engage with industry to evaluate new commercial products.

With IE2, OLS is improving search results of IRS.gov content by inviting taxpayers to participate in a blind test of leading search engines. We aggregate and analyze usage data from the tests to recommend how to optimize IRS.gov search performance. IE2 accelerates IRS's ability to design and produce Web services that are easy to use, meet taxpayer needs, and encourage return visits to IRS.gov.

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