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Weekly Research and best Practices

Research

1. Better web search needed on government sites (07/26/2010) – 2010 Harris Interactive study (pdf), finds citizens struggle to find what they need on government websites. 7 out of 10 surveyed believe search functionality on government websites need to be improved.
http://www.rightnow.com/pdf/press/2010-open-government-report.pdf

2. Web 2.0 risks and rewards (07/22/2010) –GAO identified 22 of 24 major federal agencies are using social media. They identify privacy and security as challenges in the use of Web 2.0 technologies Do potential security and privacy issues outweigh government innovation and cost savings? http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d10872t.pdf

3. The Generation Gap on Government (07/27/2010) – Center for American Progress report find the Millennial Generation havs a favorable view and a relatively high confidence in government. What does this mean for the future? http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2010/07/pdf/dww_millennials.pdf

4. Advancing Public Sector Innovation (05/21/2010) Empowering Change: Fostering Innovation in the Australian Public Service looks at sources of innovation and those who can help design, implement and deliver it. The report outlines what agencies, teams, and individuals can do.
http://www.innovation.gov.au/Section/Innovation/Documents/Empowering_Change.pdf

News

1. GSA First Fridays Usbility Testing (07/31/2010) – GSA starts new program to conduct discount usability testing every First Friday of the month in the GSA Headquarters building. Also related internal GSA User Experience Blog, http://insite.gsablogs.gsa.gov/usability/ . This type of discount usability testing is described in the how-to book, Rocket Surgery Made Easy by Steve Krug. Check out the downloadable checklist and watch a 25-minute usability test video.

2. Roundup of Mobile Government Apps (07/30/2010) – A look at some of the most popular government-related mobile apps available today. A hot area is local government infrastructure and services. http://ohmygov.com/blogs/general_news/archive/2010/07/30/ohmygov-com-roundup-of-mobile-government-apps.aspx

3. Federal Register Gets Facelift – Federal Register celebrates its 75th anniversary with the launch an experimental beta site. Comments and suggestions are welcome. http://www.federalregister.gov/

4. HUD Ideas in Action (07/2010) – New discussion forum launched to allow HUD’s partners to share and discuss ideas and vote the best ones for action. The online tool focuses on how HUD can fulfill their 2010 vision. http://hudideasinaction.uservoice.com/forums/55040-feedback-on-hud-s-final-strategic-plan

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Bill Brantley

In Re #1 in Research – That’s not just applicable to government websites. Try searching Microsoft.com using their site’s search engine. Yes, search needs to be improved but many agency websites can also benefit from a good site map and redesigned organizational structure based on how citizens use the agency website rather than on the internal organizational chart.

A good place to start is to look at the server logs and determine just how users navigate the site. It’s the modern version of the old story where you place concrete paths over the paths worn into the ground by pedestrians.