New2Gov: One Site to Rule Them All

Ever since joining up with GovLoop in April I’ve continually heard gripes about .gov sites. The crazy thing is most of the complaints are uniform across the board: the search suck, it looks like crap, there is no user interface… ect.

I think we are all in agreement that .gov sites as a whole aren’t where they need to be, granted there is major progress being made through site redesigns and launches. Sidenote: search “GovLaunch” if you want see all the new sites and what not that government is rolling out.

Last Friday I was sitting in an OpenGov workshop and we were talking about projects and things that could be done to make the government more awesome. Inevitably someone brought up .gov websites and how frustrating they can be for users. We continued to throw around ideas and then it all the sudden hit me: why can’t we make .gov sites just one big site: One Site to Rule Them All.

Believe me I know that sounds absolutely crazy, which is probably why I didn’t voice my thought out loud but the more I think about it the more I think: why not?

Basically what I’m thinking here is a master site (yes it would be humongous). But think about it, once everything is internalize you would truly have the “one stop shop” that everyone online is looking for. I think this is right for tons of reasons but for time sake I’ll list out my top ones:

  • If we host the .govs under one master site it becomes automatically easier browse since the template would be the same on all the site pages. You wouldn’t have navigation bars or search boxes in different spots… people would be able to get used to one thing and master it, instead of having to know several different user interfaces.

  • The site being so massive and covering so many agencies and topics would practically monopolize search engines.

  • Promotes one government one goal atmosphere. I know people in government don’t always see it that way but the average American sees it as the government not just DoD or EPA to them we are one entity working to towards mutual goals. Promoting teamwork amongst agencies is something we need more of, this would help.

  • It would allow people to see everything that’s happening in government. Think about it you’re on the DOJ page but in the side navigation you see a blurb about something that’s happening in DOT that affects you so you click over. The time on site metrics would be out of this world and there’s a high possibility that you walk away with more engaged and knowledgeable citizens.

Would love to hear your thoughts.

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Profile Photo Martha Garvey

Well, my short answer is that this would be awesome, if the website were truly a semantic website. That is, that the content was truly built on a common group of agreed-upon terms that made sense to all constituencies.

And maybe that’s the sticking point–because it isn’t just ordinary citizens who use government websites. It’s vendors looking for businesses and contracting officers in agencies, and legislators, and journalists, and people looking for childcare for their kids.

(Some would argue that that’s what usa.gov is for–to be the uberwebsite.)

Thoughts?

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Profile Photo Joe Flood

That would be one big site! One massive site would require one massive web department to run the site which might mean one massive bureaucracy.

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Profile Photo Stephen Peteritas

Joe… I think the web department would actually be smaller than if you added up all the current web departments that span government agencies right now. Just like when companies merge roles are often repeated and hence not necessary to have two people.

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Profile Photo Jenyfer Johnson

I think it’s a great idea. It’s been one of my big gripes for a long time about the government that they seem to be short-sighted when it comes to IT stuff. We have one program to manage our government purchase cards, another to mange our travel cards, another to fund our financial transactions, another to pay contractor invoices and another to put projects/programs in to be funded year to year but none of these systems talk to each other!! This does not pass the logic test to me.

A huge site for the public encompassing all of the government would be so helpful to the public!!

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