White Horse recently released a report, “Mobile development Guidelines for Government Agencies,” that examines the mobile medium’s emerging role in delivery of government services. We believe that mobile has the potential to help government agencies keep the public informed, foster public engagement and ultimately improve the work of democracy. But in the rapidly changing realm of mobile what will it take for agencies to accomplish the goal?
As a means of understanding mobile’s current role in government services, we analyzed the function and usability of a range of government apps. Of the 80+ apps and mobile sites available at apps.usa.gov, we selected 15 of the most popular apps and 15 of the least popular apps and compared their strengths and weaknesses. We rated each app with a “Keep / Change / Toss,” as well as specific feedback for what could be improved or why the mobile application environment is not ideal for specific content.
Primary findings include:
- an over-reliance of federal agencies on mobile applications while mobile web experiences are neglected
- a number of apps that have no clear purpose
- apps with poor user interface design hindering the app’s usefulness
We included general recommendations for ensuring the development of successful egov mobile initiatives using a “Mobile Experience Funnel” guideline for mobile development.
Mobile platforms are one of the critical new ways in which citizens, government employees and others access and use information from the government. There is a lot to be gained from following some best practices as government agencies determine the role of mobile in their initiatives.
Joseph Marks points out in his recent article covering our report that the GSA is leading a government wide push to deliver more services and information via mobile, and while this push is certainly on the mark, developing a successful experience on mobile platforms is not something to be done haphazardly or as a stopgap measure.
How many agencies currently offering or developing mobile experiences do you think have done the groundwork to understand their user’s needs across devices?