Best practices for government websites

Five federal websites have been chosen as good examples of best practices in government websites. What jumps out at me is that, aside from it not being all about Web 2.0, is that each of these agencies are strong examples of making their site about the user, not all about the agency.

Clearly, Web 2.0 tools foster this by definition. But my belief is that it takes a finer touch than slapping together a bunch of the latest social media tools. What other thoughtful examples in the federal sector do you see out there of “user first” in action?

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Henry Brown

Definitely related to best practices

How to Measure Success in a 2.0 World
February 9, 2009 – 10:05am

By Suzanne Kubota
Senior Internet Editor

President Obama may have signed a memo ordering agencies to disseminate more information online and open up more channels for feedback, but the administration is learning the hard way what Sen. Barry Goldwater meant when he said “You can’t legislate morality.” In this case, you can’t order internet users to want the information you provide.

In looking at how Web 2.0 works and the way it is being used, Tom Galvin, partner and CEO at 463 Communications, tells FederalNewsRadio the bottom line that agencies should be using to evaluate the message is “does it add value?” “Value,” according to Galvin, is in being able to get, or respond, to information that the user didn’t have access to before.

“…What should define success (in using 2.0 technologies) is whether or not you’re providing information that people couldn’t get before in another mechanism and two, are they getting new services.”

Galvin points to the efforts of the National Weather Service as an example of success in using 2.0 technology. Information is now available in an xml format which allows users to acquire it easily and then do their own weather plotting.

The end result, says Galvin, is that simply recycling information will not work anymore. By doing that, he says “or the large part, you’re not adding value. You’re not giving them (the user) something they (didn’t) have otherwise.”

Kelly O'Brien

Good point, Henry. The question becomes, then, by who’s measure? I’ve found you sometimes get surprising answers when you ask customers and stakeholders what they value vs. what folks on the inside say adds value.