Great blog from Andrea DiMaio of Gartner –
Why gov’t-wide portals have a bleak future: leaner, more Agile Agency portals can solve the same probs, evolve with the new technology, & make more sense in today’s world of new/social media.
“Should we stop caring about the user interface, which has been sucking so much of our efforts, and rather focus on APIs and build widgets that would be used wherever clients want?”.
His answer: Yes, of course. Go figure out for which information and service needs the portal will provide a better value proposition than a search engine, a social network, an agency or a third party web site, if any.
You want to do both. I don’t think the need for websites is going to disappear soon. Both from a public perspective (if they want official government information or services, the best way they have to be sure that they are getting it is to go to a government site) and from a political perspective (politicians love to control the message and context).
In terms of search engines, third party sites, social networks, etc. : Google doesn’t take away the need for your site, it just gives you an additional consideration when designing it. Facebook apps have their place but they are only visible to facebook users and don’t show up on Google.
That’s not to say that you should ignore social networks, APIs, widgets, etc. There’s an old saying “Fish where the fish are.” If people are looking for videos on YouTube and photos on Flickr, and you want people to see and engage with yours, you’ll have a lot more success placing them where people are looking. If people are spending their time on Facebook, Twitter and their iPhone, you’ll get a lot more people finding your content if you put it where they are looking. If you make an API or provide embed code, or an RSS stream – that provides a lot more opportunities to put your content in the way of people’s eyeballs.
But we’re not yet at the point where that can come anywhere close to replacing a website rather than augmenting it.
I agree but would like to see us take our “official government info and services” to the next level, and become part of that social network, designing our sites and portals to interface/interoperate with all of those other .com sites that everyone is visiting.
Would like to see personal .gov dashboards for sharing and securing our own widgets and apps, etc.