SBA Retools Website to Improve User Experience

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) recently offered a reworked website with improved search capabilities, better navigation, integrated content from other government agencies, interactive maps and a vehicle for users to rate content.

Officials said that the upgraded navigation will give small business owners faster access to information and resources.

The renovated site's centerpiece is called SBA Direct, a web tool designed to provide users with targeted information based on preferences such as business type, geography and needs. Material such as steps to start a business, growth strategies and compliance issues is offered, as well as information on available SBA programs to help small businesses succeed.

"With the launch of the new SBA.gov, we have reached a significant milestone in how the agency has evolved in using interactive web tools, social media and blogs to engage with, and better meet the needs of small business owners," said Karen Mills, SBA Administrator.

"While the SBA website has traditionally been an information-rich site, we wanted to make it easier for small business owners to navigate," Mills said. "With the new improved SBA.gov, business owners can access the answers they need, specific to their business profile, in an instant--it truly presents the face of the future of SBA."

Mills said that the SBA Direct feature also provides materials on financial assistance, exporting and government contracting opportunities, counseling and training.

"Transforming the SBA into a proactive, responsive and 'customer-centric' organization that better serves the needs of the nation's more than 29 million small businesses is an exciting, yet enormous effort," she said.

Mills suggested that improving access to timely, targeted information and resources will help time-crunched small business owners.

"I've worked with a lot of small business owners over the years, and if there is one thing I know about them, it's this: They never have enough time in the day to get everything done," she said in a blog post. "That was a big reason why, last year, we decided to overhaul [the web site]."

The project's overarching goal is to construct a transparent, participatory and collaborative online presence for the SBA, as part of the agency's Open Government Plan, official said.

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