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Many government organizations use web heuristics for the quality assurance of their websites. Heuristics may be used by web designers to guide the decisions about a website in development, or by web evaluators to optimize or assess the quality of an existing website. Despite their popularity, very little is known about the usefulness of heuristics for web designers and evaluators. In this study, five government heuristics are examined with special attention to their presumed use, content, validity, and presentation format. Our findings raise questions about the usability of heuristics for web design and web evaluation purposes. More research into the actual use and effects of web heuristics is needed.