Validation of the Formal Quality Index as a model for assessing websites: The case of the local Portuguese e-Administration

<p></p><p>Abstract The results derived from a content analysis applied to websites from 308 municipalities in Portugal are discussed. Despite the name of the method (which could possibly lead to confusion), the study has exclusively focused on the formal parameters of online communication; that is, audiovisual appearance, information architecture, usability, accessibility, and features of Web 2.0 present in the websites of the sample. As the main strategy for data processing, a Formal Quality Index was created from the computation of certain items in the codebook; a procedure adapted from previous research was satisfactorily replicated in the present study. This indicator was used to make interregional comparisons, which showed statistically significant differences, and it was also correlated with factors such as population, budget, purchasing power, or technological development of municipalities; all these were predictors of the formal status of the local Portuguese e-Administration.</p><p></p>