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.