The opening keynotes at the Gov2.0 Expo were overall very impressive. With slides advancing automatically every 15 seconds amounting to 5 minutes per speaker, the presentations were well-rehearsed nuggets highlighting projects run by bright people that everyone should be paying attention to.
One presentation I particularly liked was Liz Losh’s “12 Don’ts for Government 2.0.” The point that changed my thinking was “#2. Don’t Pander, Especially to Children.” Every time my team has met to discuss a hurricane education program for children for our site OneStorm, cartoons, puzzles, and activities were always the focus. Losh argues that while these may be fun, kids go to government websites largely to do research for school projects – not for coloring books.
Can GovLoopers take this a step further and come up with a list of Do’s for designing gov2.0 websites for children? I’ll start it off with two:
#1. Provide APA & MLA citations in the footnote of every web page
#2. If the language is complicated, don’t dumb it down, teach it
Post your own ideas as comments. And PS, children under 18 aren’t allowed into the expo hall for safety reasons. Looking forward to meeting the exhibitor with the dangerous booth 🙂
Hey – Quick thought – Talk to Dustin Haisler in Manor, TX, about the notion of spreading Gov 2.0 via kids He actually introduces new technology to kids in the local schools first. And guess what? The kids take the technology home and teach/set up their parents. He made me a believer in the power of leveraging what appears to be an innate ability in kids to pick up tech fast…and get their parents plugged in.
That being said, I’d keep the coloring books and such…my hunch is that teachers occasionally incorporate them into their curricula. Here are a couple more ideas:
#3. Use Gov Mascots! The most successful education programs capture kids’ attention through appropriate caricatures of the message.
#4. Be colorful. Color = fun and fascinating. I am already seeing the power of color with my 10-week old son. Heck, adults like colorful, shiny things. It’s like a visual magnet for kids.
#5. Be interactive and use gaming. Loved how Google had Pac Man on the home page last week. Can agencies use similar interactive tools to make their key messages ‘sticky’?