The Public Interface Project (Phase I)
In this project, CeRI is helping to create a substantially enriched public user interface for Regulations.gov, the official government-run Internet portal and document repository for all federal agency rulemaking. It resulted from the E-Government Act of 2002's directive to provide the public with Web-based access to, and participation in, rulemaking. It is still incomplete, both as a database and in its interface design. Of particular relevance to this Project, the Web interface currently provides little support or information to the nonexpert user unfamiliar with the rulemaking process. Even for expert users, certain technical and database shortcomings combined with undeveloped potential enhancements result in Regulations.gov being far less useful than it could be.
Phase I of the project includes:
creating informational text and graphics to explain the complex rulemaking process to a lay audience, presented through web design aimed at enhancing the accessibility of this material [See these pages];
developing a portfolio that includes a best-practices guide and web-design protocols to help agency rulewriters facilitate public participation in rulemaking by, e.g., annotating the proposed rule with links to primary legal materials as well as to scientific, technical and/or economic materials on which the agency relied in making the proposal; and
developing more accessible formats of presentation for document search results, including a method of arraying documents so that the user can easily track the course of a rulemaking proceeding