What Makes A Successful .Gov Website? Plus Your Weekend Reads!

Welcome to GovLoop InsightsIssue of the Week with Chris Dorobek where each week, our goal is to find an issue — a person — an idea — then helped define the past 7-days and we work to find an issue that will also will have an impact on the days, weeks and months ahead. And, as always, we focus on six words: helping you do your job better.

Among our items this week

  • Is Hurricane Sandy the Catalyst for Telework?The Office of Personnel Management estimates that one-third of the almost 300,000 federal employees, including emergency staff in the DC metro area telework when government buildings are closed because of weather. That’s a HUGE increase. So is Hurricane Sandy the catalyst for telework?
  • Applying to be a PMF? We’ve got the inside track to get you ahead: November 5th. That’s the day would-be Presidential Management Fellows can begin their applications for the prestigious program. The highly competitive and very thorough application process is incredibly hard to successfully navigate. But we here at GovLoop are here to help.
  • What’s the Biggest Challenge for State CIO’s? What are the top tech concerns facing state and local cio’s? Are they same as the tech concerns facing the federal government? TechAmerica has surveyed hundreds of state cio’s. Find out the surprising answers.

Our issue of the week: looks at what it take to make a highly successful local government website.

Anthony Perrone is a program analyst for Buncombe County in North Carolina. His website was ranked as one of the best local government sites in the country.

So I wanted to pick his brain on the DorobekINSIDER to pull out tricks of the trade.

Copy Copy Copy
“When we decided it was time to not just do a redesign but a full on rebuild, we really looked to other cities and state sites that were really successful. We wanted to see what worked and what didn’t,” said Perrone.

“Cleanliness was really important. Before the re-launch we had 25,000 pages on BUNCOMBEcounty.org. We really combed through the analytics to see what people were actually clicking. Then we went about finding redundancies and clearing them out. Our site now has under 1,000 pages. It’s so much cleaner and easier to navigate,” said Perrone.

Analytic Based Homepage
“We spent about two months going over the analytics. From there we pulled out the top seven or eight sections and made them the focus of the homepage. We also created an “I want to tab,” the tab walks people through the site. It much more streamlined,” said Perrone.

Weekend Reads:

  • EPA’s Jeffrey Levy looks at: Using the Hourglass to Respond to Questions in a Crisis. Levy’s come up with a concept of a question/answer “hourglass,” where we take in questions from multiple channels and issue the same answers through multiple channels. While the input/output channels overlap a lot, they don’t totally coincide.
  • Hurricane Sandy might not be the only major storm facing the Eastern Seaboard this year. The National Weather Service is out with their winter weather predictions for 2012. Check them out here.

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