Leveraging the power of citizen engagement to dramatically improve customer service, agency focus and cost efficiency.
What’s your tip for WH on Improving Federal Websites?
July 15, 2011 at 2:13 pm #135635
The White House has announced a 12 person taskforce to improve federal websites starting with consolidating the more than 2,000 domains
and making recommendations for updating .gov policy and best practices.
What’s your tip for the taskforce as they work to consolidate and improve federal websites?
July 15, 2011 at 2:24 pm #135645
-Organizational structure matters – federal websites are often stuck in a war between CIO shop and Public Affairs. Add in New Media departments and there’s a lot of cooks in kitchen with sometimes competing ideas. Offer advice on this piece.
-Fund and strengthen Federal Web Managers at GSA – there’s a lot of usefulness in the Federal Web Managers group at GSA. They do a lot of awesome work – but with more resources they could do a lot more. Think “website SWAT teams” that could come in and be internal consultants for other agencies. Already doing some of this with its Friday series and webinars and conferences.
But I think could be even more hands on – one other model would be like OPM HR Consulting division that is a fee for service internal consultants – what if GSA had army of developers UI, etc on staff that agencies could contract to
– Create incentive structures along to results trying to drive – If a company (say Autotrader.com) built a website, they are trying to increase website visitors, email subscribers, Facebook fans, etc. Which in the end get people to take action they want (like buy a car). I think government websites often get stuck in internal politics (do folks like logos, do people like the CMS, is my sub-division places prominently, does it look cool).
But how do we focus on real goal of govt websites – getting more citizens the information they need to take actions (renew passports, get flu information directly, etc) and reward those when for example 20% more folks get passport info online via search than calling in. Perhaps one idea is to start with dashboard of government agencies website traffic and measure up/down over time.
-Make sure that each websites has open data feeds and walks line w/ competing with private sector. For example, NOAA walks real carefully on making sure other companies develop on top of weather data. I think there are lots of opportunities similar like Baby name websites (w/ SSA data) or jobs websites (w/ USAJOBS data) or health care sites (w/ HHS data). We should think about that carefully on the role of govt websites vs open data vs doing both (good website + good open data). Sites like twitter.com walk a line on this and tough question.
July 15, 2011 at 3:14 pm #135643
Reinforce the fact, to top-level agency management, that their agency’s .gov domain website is not for their self-promotion or for Congress to think we need a bigger budget. It is for the public and they couldn’t care less about our organizational structure.
August 15, 2011 at 11:51 pm #135641
August 16, 2011 at 11:30 am #135639
As usual Gwynne is right. What she said.
August 17, 2011 at 3:40 pm #135637
A couple of people, Gwynne in particular, noted that focussing on the SITE is a misdirection.
As a government web team member, I focus on the whole process of civic participation. This requires different thinking, particularly in mapping gov. processes and doing overlays of web access points on the process to see what is over-represented, and what is under-represented, in the web presence.
The government web site is evolving from a “communications channel” to an actual control surface capable of operating the entire system. A control surface has indicators of the system status, and has interface widgets for adjusting system parameters. Information and communication still play a major role in this evolution, but the focus has to shift from “telling the right people the right stuff in the right time” to “adjusting and adapting the flow of the whole system proportionately.” In some cases it is a huge leap. In others, it is a natural progression.
The point it, it is a fundamentally different model. Instead of designing progressively more impressive kiosks for announcing and dispensing things, we need to be designing the control surfaces of government that are accessible to all citizens, and that also work for gov. staff.
A very different model. An exciting challenge.
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