The paper discusses the first phase in a research program that aims at forming a set of user-centered web design and usability guidelines that can be used to improve the usability of government web sites. This initial research will use the American National Standards Institute’s ANSI INCITS 354-2001 Common Industry Format for Usability Test Reports (formerly ANSI NCITS 354-2001) standard in its research framework, and similarly, the research will focus on three usability metrics (effectiveness, efficiency, and satisfaction) defined by that ANSI INCITS standard. As the preliminary goal, this research will form a set of web design and usability guidelines by using usability.gov as the major resource. In the following stage, the research will perform summative usability testing on the web site of the North Dakota Parks and Recreation Department (www.ndparks.com) to examine the effects of these determined web design and usability guidelines. As a result of analyzing the data collected through the summative usability testing, the research will determine which of the formed web design and usability guidelines have effective potential roles on users to achieve certain goals.