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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

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What are the major criteria for mobile speed and usability rules?

What is IPv6?

Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) is the most recent version of the Internet Protocol (IP), the communications protocol that provides an identification and location system for computers on networks and routes traffic across the Internet. The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) developed IPv6 to deal with the long-anticipated problem of IPv4 address exhaustion. IPv6 is intended to replace IPv4.  See more information.

What is DNSSEC?

Domain Name System Security Extensions (DNSSEC) is a suite of extensions to add security to the Domain Name System (DNS) protocol by enabling DNS responses to be validated. Specifically, DNSSEC provides origin authority, data integrity, and authenticated denial of existence.

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Which data sources are displayed on the website; how are the collected?

Information is collected from various sources. Digital Dashboard’s goal is to use robust community driven open source tools and APIs to collect data. Below are a comprehensive list of all the tools and APIs we use on our site.

1. HTTPS , HSTS , Enforce HTTPS and Preload Information Scan

Digital Dashboard receives this information from Pulse.

2. DAP (Digital Analytics Platform) Information Scan

Digital Dashboard collects this information from Pulse.

3. Alexa Ranking Scan

Digital Dashboard displays Alexa world ranking of a website.

4. DNS, IPv6, HSTS and Other Scans

Digital Dashboard uses a popular Ruby command line tool called Site Inspector to collect various information.

5. SSL protocols and Web Cipher Scans

Digital Dashboard employs a popular Python-based tool called SSLYZE to collect information on different SSL protocols used in a website, and also identify a detailed list ciphers used on each server.

6. Technology Stack Scan

Wappalyzer collects different technology information on a website for Digital Dashboard. It is a nodes based tool, and the source code is available here.

 7. Accessibility Scan

Accessibility scan information is collected from Pulse. The accessibility component has not officially been released by Pulse; currently it is for Government users only. 

8. Site Performance and Site Speed

Digital Dashboard uses Google’s page speed API to collect information about any website’s speed and performance. This API also provides suggestions for enhancing the speed and performance of a website.

9. Mobile Site Performance and Speed

Digital Dashboard uses Google’s mobile friendly API to collect information about mobile based website’s speed and performance. This API also provides suggestions for enhancing the speed and performance of the mobile version of an website

10. Site Snapshots on Browser and Mobile Devices

Digital Dashboard collects an image snapshot of the front page of the website.  Scans are used to determine how the front page displays on a mobile device and on a desktop browser.

Digital Dashboard uses the Google Pagespeed API’s mentioned above, as well as a command line npm tool called pageres.

11. Other Tools and scripts

In addition to the above-mentioned tools and APIs, several shell scripts have been developed and are used in order to collect critical information. 

The most frequently used command line tools include: dig , nslookup , curl , and wget.

 

What is a widget and what does it do?

A widget is an element of a graphical user interface (GUI) that displays information or provides a specific way for a user to interact with the operating system or application.

What is a technology stack?

A technology stack is a set of software components composed of a logically complete platform for running a service or supporting an application.

What metrics make up the technology stack?

Currently, the technology stack report consists of the following metrics:

CMS Applications

Widget Applications Analytics Applications Font Script Applications
Web Server Cache Tools Javascript Frameworks
Programming Languages Advertising Networks Blog Applications
Build CI Systems Captcha Applications CDN applications
Comment Systems Applications Control Systems Applications CRM Applications
Database Managers Databases Dev Tools
Document Management Systems Documentation Tools Ecommerce Applications
Editor Applications Feed Readers Hosting Panels
Issue Trackers JavaScript Graphics applications Landing Page Builders
LMS Applications Maps Applications Live Chat Applications
Marketing Automation Media Servers Message Boards
Miscellaneous Application Mobile Frameworks Network Devices
Network Storage Operating Systems Payment Processors
Photo Galleries Remote Access Rich Text Editors
Search Engines Tag Managers Video Players
Web Frameworks Web Mail Applications Web Server Extensions

Wiki Applications

   

 

What does N/A mean for a DAP score?

Only 80% of the sites in our master list reported DAP analytics.csv api. For the remaining sites, Digital Dashboard does not have the data and you will see “N/A.”

The external data source for the DNSSEC metric shows “False.” What does this mean?

This means the site is not compliant with DNSSEC.

The external data source for the IPv6 score shows “False.” What does this mean?

This means it has a value of zero.

How is the Mobile Overall Score calculated?

The Mobile Overall Score is calculated by adding Performance + Usability and dividing by two.

What is the external data source for the Mobile Performance Score?

It is the Google page speed API. Mobile Score is only available only by the API call.

Is there a reason why the Digital Dashboard scores and the Data Source scores show a small discrepancy under the Mobile Usability Score?

Scores are informative only, as sites are updated frequently, and their scores can change. Google updates constantly while Digital Dashboard updates once a month; therefore, Digital Dashboard can display a slight discrepancy in scores. For more information, click here. Mobile Score is only available only by the API call.

Which parts of a website are being scanned for accessibility?

At this time, only the homepage of second level .gov websites are being scanned for accessibility.

Which federal websites are being measured?

Currently, Pulse uses the official .gov website list to focus on websites owned by federal agencies. This includes some websites ending in .fed.us. Websites ending in other suffixes, such as .mil or .us, are not included at this time. Subdomains, such as portal.hud.gov and travel.state.gov, are also not included at this time.

What does Pulse measure about federal websites?

Pulse measures the use of HTTPS, as well as participation in the federal government's Digital Analytics Program (DAP).

Why are the scores different from Pulse?

Scores are different from Pulse because they are based on second level .gov websites, and they do not include subdomains.

What is HTTPS, and why does Pulse measure it?

HTTPS provides a secure connection across the internet between websites and its users. HTTPS is becoming the new baseline for public web services across the internet. As part of this shift, the federal government is in the process of transitioning entirely to HTTPS.

 

HTTPS does not generally affect a website’s vulnerability to hacking. For more information on what HTTPS does, please visit the HTTPS FAQ.

What is the Digital Analytics Program (DAP)?

The DAP is an important federal government program that provides federal agencies, as well as the public, with a look into how federal government services are being used.

Any publicly accessible federal website in the executive branch of the federal government may participate in the Digital Analytics Program (DAP).

To include a federal website, please send an email to the DAP team.

What does “information not available” mean?

“Information not available” means a failed attempt to collect the information for various reasons, including:

1) The site was shut down during the time the attempt to collect the data was made.

2) There was a network connectivity issue that prevented the collection of information.

What does “information not applicable” mean?

“Information not applicable” means the specific technology criteria is not applicable to the specific website or agency in question.

How can I submit comments or questions?

For questions specific to HTTPS deployment, you may open an issue on the HTTPS-Only Standard's GitHub repository.

For questions specific to the Digital Analytics Program (DAP), you can open an issue on the DAP's GitHub repository, or send an email to dap@gsa.gov.

For questions specific to the Universal Accessibility and Design, you can open an issue on the Pulse GitHub repository, or send an email to Section508.gov.

The information about my website is wrong! Can you please fix it?

If you recently made changes to your website in order to address an issue on Pulse, please note data does not automatically refresh on Pulse, therefore there will be a delay before your website's information is updated.

If you notice any inaccurate information on your website, please send an email to pulse@cio.gov

How is this information being collected?

This data is collected via a third-party library called Wappalyzer.

What are the Major Agencies?

The following are the major agencies that are referred to in the graphs.

GSA
DOT
ED
DOI
HHS
DOJ
DOD
USDA
EPA
TREAS
DOS
DOL
DOE
OPM
NSF
DHS
SBA
HUD
NASA
SSA
VA

My website shows as not available, how are you calculating the average score?

In cases where only 1 score is available, the average is calculated based on that one score. 

How frequently are scans run?

Scans are typically run 1-2 per month.