At the beginning of 2017, the ITIF (Information Technology and Innovation Foundation) released a report that benchmarked 300 federal websites in four areas: page-load speed, mobile friendliness, security and accessibility. Some sites fared better than others, but the report highlighted that our federal sites have a ways to go (DigitalGov included) in these areas. Looking at these four metrics is important as they directly impact our customers’ first perceptions of the quality of our government’s digital services.
The U.S. Web Design Standards were created by the government, for the government. They’re currently implemented on hundreds of government sites, with an audience of more than 26 million monthly users. They’ve also been recommended by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for all government agencies to ensure a consistent look and feel of their public-facing digital services. Over the coming months, the team will be doing a series of blog posts to share information about the how different agencies are using the Standards.
The Information Technology & Innovation Foundation (ITIF) recently published a report, Benchmarking U.S. Government Websites, that looks at the performance, security, and accessibility of the top 297 government websites. ITIF is a think tank in Washington, D.C. whose mission is to formulate, evaluate, and promote policy solutions that accelerate innovation in technology and public policy. Over the past 90 days, government websites were visited over 2.55 billion times. According to the Analytics Dashboard, 43.
DigitalGov University (DGU), the events platform for DigitalGov, provides programming to build and accelerate digital capacity by providing webinars and in-person events highlighting innovations, case studies, tools, and resources. Thanks to your participation, DGU hosted over 90 events with 6,648 attendees from over 100 agencies across federal, tribal, state, and local governments. DGU strives to provide training throughout the year that is useful and relevant to you. One of the most resounding comments from digital managers last year was people wanted to be able to attend all of our classes virtually.
As you know, over the last few years DigitalGov has surfaced the innovative advancements many are making across the government space while providing a platform for learning best practices and coming together as a community. Over the course of the next few weeks, a small team from 18F and Office of Products and Programs are working on reimagining a future DigitalGov and DigitalGov University. We are looking to talk to a few readers of DigitalGov.
What does Snapchat, the disappearing message-and-video platform most used by teenagers, have to do with government outreach and communications programs? Well, Snapchat has quickly become an incredibly effective digital storytelling medium, and content creators across multiple government agencies have adopted it as an important part of their programs. A recent New York Times article described how nearly 35 million users in the United States watched highlights and stories from the Summer Olympics on Snapchat.
Suddenly, digital video is everywhereon your social timelines. As a government storyteller, you may be overwhelmed about all the tools available and all of the features each publishing platform has to offer. Facebook, Twitter and SnapChat all offer great video platforms that are free and easy to use, plus they make it easy for you to market to your social followers on those respective platforms. When most people think of Google, they often think of the search engine, but Google also has been on the forefront of creating media and research tools, metric suites and content presentation platforms for years.
What is Citizen Science? A Recent Webinar Explores How the Federal Government Engages the Public via Crowdsourcing
From the National Park Service (NPS) to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the use of citizen science has become a prominent factor in the science community and a critical tool for the federal government. A recent DigitalGov University (DGU) webinar provides an introduction to the concept and shows how the federal government is using it to engage the public and address important issues. The federal government has seen a surge of citizen science initiatives thanks to several developments, starting with a memo from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) that outlined ways agencies can use citizen science.
This spring, the eRegulations Notice & Comment team began building out a new feature set for the platform — adding the ability for agencies with proposed regulations to show the public more precisely the changes being proposed and allow agencies to receive more granular, contextual, and better-organized comments. One of the challenges we wrestled with was how to share our work out frequently and openly with the dozens of interested parties, while not making that a blocker in focusing on our work of doing many demos for the many different parties interested in and informing our work.
In 2016, the Digital Analytics Program (DAP) team has ramped up our training schedule. We appreciate all the DAP users that have attended our trainings and we’re happy to provide the material. We’ve had many users ask about video of our sessions, so we wanted to provide you with some of our recorded trainings from 2016 so far. Bookmark this page, but don’t forget about it! Here are some things we’ve covered in 2016:
Armed with the knowledge that ‘most studies suggest that losses are twice as powerful, psychologically, as gains,’ federal change agents can better prepare for possible cultural resistance as they begin to implement agile practices at their agencies. There are a variety of resistant-to-change personas (change is painful for most of us, but we dislike it in different ways) those seeking change will need to understand to be successful. Bill Brantley, ‘agile OG,’ from the U.
Online quizzes have rapidly risen to the front of the social media revolution. “In 2014, 8 out of 10 of the most shared articles on the Web were quizzes,” states Owen Fuller of content company Movement Ventures. Content creators leverage quizzes to successfully drive customer engagement and increase customer website conversions (to take action such as filling out a form, supplying an email address or making a purchase.) Federal agencies may benefit from using quizzes as part of their communication strategy.
It’s not new that agencies are inundated with data, but what data should you collect to improve your agency’s programs and enhance the customer experience? The Department of Labor’s Employee Benefit Security Administration’s (EBSA) has been perfecting their process to collect actionable data for the past 14 years. EBSA is a regulatory agency that develops and enforces private sector employee benefit plans, such as 401Ks, traditional pensions, and health care benefit plans.
Many of you are part of a government community. We lead a few of them here, and new ones are forming all the time. In fact, as I was writing this article, I stumbled upon a community for government Drupal users. A co-worker recently asked me for research on communities because she is trying to increase the sense of community among her program’s customers. Her question made me realize that the public and private sectors use communities in different ways.
Seven new training modules aim to help Federal Challenge and Prize Community members learn more about using prize competitions to solve problems. The expert series, Designing and Operating Prizes to Maximize Success, kicked off July 14, 2015, with “Prize History, Prize Theory and What Makes a Good Prize.” Module one is designed to give challenge managers a foundation on prizes starting with their role in history and demonstrate well-known advancements that have resulted from prizes.
[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ohmyOKPSGPg&w=600] Animated gifs are increasingly found throughout the digital experience of today’s users. They offer a dynamic presentation of information in a format that can be both more performance-effective and cost-effective than standard video or images, making them valuable for federal teams looking to bring their programs to the modern digital space and improve customer satisfaction. To find out how animated gifs can be developed to measurably improve public services, we hosted “Essentials of Animated Gifs for Gov” for almost 200 managers in the U.
The Government Contact Center Council (G3C), led by GSA’s Tonya Beres, has been working with DigitalGov University to host events for the contact center community across the federal government. This year they hosted events and posted articles that will help you get a contact center up and running, make up-to-date changes to meet 21st century expectations, and incorporate new features like adaptive content, chat, and handling social media inquiries.
Metadata, tagging, content modeling … they’re not identical concepts, but they’re driven by the same basic principle: when you structure your digital information, it can be more easily searched, reused, connected, shared, and analyzed. If you’re new to structured content, where should you start? Ideally, your metadata strategy will be part of your overall content strategy. In practice, however, a lot depends on your agency’s culture, its technical resources, its existing practices, and the state of your content.
Data and code are the foundation, building blocks, and cornerstone of government digital services. They are the keys that open the door to a better digital government future and are fundamental in making government more open. No matter who you are or where you work in the federal space, data and code enable your projects to meet real needs. This month we’re featuring articles around the theme of data and code.
Thanks to your awesome input on the Citizen Services Summit agenda and the rallying of the Summit Sounding Board, we now have more than 70 ideas and 50 comments on those ideas. Vote early and Vote often! We’ve opened up the voting floodgates for these 70 ideas until February 28th! Now you can help choose programming by voting and commenting on the ideas you want to see make it on the agenda.
You may have seen this icon on our calendar recently. This icon indicates a digitalgov “friend event.” What’s a Friend Event Does your agency offer training or events to help improve digital services? Are they free? Are they open to other federal government agencies? If you answered YES to all three questions then you have a friend event that we want on the [DigitalGov Calendar]( /events .
Performance Analytics for Social Media Decision Making. Creating Adaptive Content. Usability Testing. These are just some of the areas of programming we are putting together. After taking a look at the most widely attended events in 2014, we decided to gather ideas we received from community and program leads for our 2015 events lineup through DigitalGov University (DGU). We’ve identified primary needs in each community, but this is just the top of the line-up because we will continue to offer just-in-time training on the things you need when you need it.
In recent years, DigitalGov University (DGU) has evolved from a prescriptive training program to a more agile program looking to federal government leaders like you to share the innovations, tools, resources, hurdles and case studies of how you work to meet the digital expectations of the 21st century citizen customer better. Whew. That’s a mouthful. Thanks to all the participation from you, across many agencies, we’ve hosted over 100 events this past year with over 8,000 attendees.
You might remember in the post Crowdsourced Digital Citizen Services Summit we said “Go to Citizen Services Summit 2015. Go there now!” Well if you haven’t yet, there is still time to go there and propose a session, idea, or speaker. Anyone can propose a session. We’re accepting proposals through the end of January. And, while you can add your proposed topic anonymously, if you create an account, you’ll be able to edit or add to your suggestion and get feedback from us.
This past year DigitalGov University has hosted at least one Usability event per month and we thought we’d give you a round-up of those events. After all, November 13th was World Usability Day. Since this year’s theme of World Usability Day is Engagement it would be great to take a look at the event recap article, Improving the User Experience with Usability.gov. The folks at Usability.gov took a user-centered approach to refresh their site and make the design more engaging.
The International Data Corporation (IDC) is forecasting a strong outlook for smartphone sales during the remaining months of 2014. They predict more than 1.25 billion smartphones will be shipped worldwide before the end of the year. Just 24 hours after going on sale last Friday, the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus broke prior Apple presale records with 4 million units purchased. Reading these stats I couldn’t help but ask, “Are we at a mobile tipping point?
When faced with a big, daunting problem to solve, it’s human nature to try to tackle it by breaking it down into smaller parts and taking it “one step at a time.” The message from a recent DigitalGov University webinar on public prize competitions (AKA ‘challenges’) was that the government can often receive better solutions by going through the exact same process, and giving awards at each step.
You’ve got the right words, the active verbs, the carefully chosen adjectives and adverbs. You’ve got the facts. You’ve got the talking points. All you have to do is put it together, right? Wait. What you want to tell people is not necessarily what they need to know. I know it’s hard to organize material for your reader, but it’s the key to writing in plain language. Besides being the law, it’s also a best practice and the best way for getting people to read your content.
Not sure how to craft a video challenge that will result in the creative solutions your agency is looking for? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Jason Crusan from NASA and Tammi Marcoullier from Challenge.gov joined a recent DigitalGov University webinar to share best practices and hurdles in running video competitions. We’ve recapped their advice and key takeaways here: Video challenges are a great way to engage the public around a visual story.
If the silos and barriers that separated our programs are smashed, what could we do to realize the full potential of innovation in public service? Whether you’re a citizen who needs better access to services, an entrepreneur looking to spark innovation in the marketplace, or a public servant who wants to get your mission done more effectively and efficiently — there have never been more opportunities to achieve these through social media in government.
It’s one of the most important words to a federal social media account manager and knowing who to talk to can sometimes make or break a communications campaign. The idea of making sure your social media accounts are reaching key constituents and members of the general public certainly isn’t new. DigitalGov University (DGU) offers a variety of webinars and training seminar regarding digital media and citizen engagement. But what about engaging other federal agencies?
Federal workers need to know more in social media than just how to send a tweet. Among other things, you also need to manage multiple accounts across platforms and languages; measure and report performance; and archive posts and comments for the public record. We dispelled the notion that technology limits agencies from tackling these challenges by highlighting how agencies can achieve all these in one dashboard — and in the process hope it opened eyes to all the possibilities available to government.
A recent FedTech Magazine article asked, “When There Are No Barriers to Technology, How Can the Government Innovate?” We thought we’d take up the challenge and let you know how government uses innovations from digital communities to grow a social media education and training program that provides more opportunities than ever for agencies to share, learn and measurably improve our programs for citizens. And by more we mean almost four times more with the same resources.