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 USDA’s multilingual FoodKeeper app has been updated to include three options for receiving food recall updates and expands storage timelines to over 500 products. This post was originally published on the USDA blog. The Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced new updates to its popular FoodKeeper application that will provide users with new access to information on food safety recalls. The app has been updated so users can choose to receive automatic notifications when food safety recalls are announced by USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) and the Department of Health and Human Service’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
We’d like to thank each agency and sub-agency for their partnership and participation in the Digital Analytics Program (DAP). The data below represents a view from over 4,500+ executive branch websites and the analysis we conducted wouldn’t be possible without you. Since the introduction of the iPhone a decade ago, smartphone and tablet usage has exploded, with 378 million mobile devices in use in 2015. In fact, 49 percent of U.
The first chatbot, ELIZA, was created back in 1964 to demonstrate that communication between humans and computers would be superficial. However, much to Dr. Weizenbaum’s (ELIZA’a creator) surprise, people easily formed friendly relationships with the computer program. People forming relationships with ELIZA was especially surprising considering just how simple the program was regarding generating conversational responses. ELIZA essentially parroted back what the users typed but, this was enough to convince people that the program seemed to care about the person.
In today’s digital world, it’s imperative that government agencies safeguard citizens’ physical and electronic security. In the world of Federal IT, adopting and advancing cybersecurity can’t be accomplished in one day, or by one agency. Federal agencies must work together to tackle complex problems and stay ahead of evolving network threats. The Federal Identity, Credential, and Access Management (FICAM) team helps agencies enable the right individual to access the right resource, at the right time, for the right reason.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has submitted a report to Congress that details current and emerging threats to the Federal government’s use of mobile devices and recommends security improvements to the mobile device ecosystem. The DHS Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) led the study in coordination with the National Institute of Standards and Technology and its National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence. Mandated by the Cybersecurity Act of 2015, the “Study on Mobile Device Security” relied on significant input from mobile industry vendors, carriers, service providers and academic researchers.
This post was originally published on the U.S. Department of Labor Blog. They say that life can be summed up as the process of a series of doors closing. By that, they mean that opportunities for taking different paths start to disappear as you move through life. It’s a logical sentiment, but there’s an obverse to it. When you’re young, all those doors are open. Doors as far as you can see.
As mentioned in our recent Q&A with the team at NASA, the U.S. Web Design Standards team is sitting down with various agencies that are using the Standards. In this second post in our series, we met with the team at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection and learned how they used the Standards to train, develop, and design their various websites and applications. Standards team: Why did you decide to use the U.
We’re excited to launch a complete redesign of USDA.gov featuring stronger visual storytelling components, a more modern user-experience with easy to find services and resources, and to top it off, a completely mobile-friendly design. Through careful planning, thoughtful design, and a primary focus on user experience and usability, we’ve taken the best of government and industry expertise and put it into creating our new website. This has been a year-long project, but to do this right, we wanted to make sure we tapped into every possible resource.
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.
Around Q3, I was looking for way to test the HTML and CSS of an online application that was to be public-facing. At first, my office’s plan was to connect mobile devices to the network owned by federal employees on a volunteer basis for testing. All of a sudden, a new policy came down that stated, “devices that were not purchased by the agency could not be connected to the network.
Improving the way the government delivers information technology (IT) solutions to its customers isn’t just a goal, it’s our mission. We at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office know that by publishing our open source code, the public can help us come up with new and better IT solutions. In advance of the new Federal Source Code Policy and in support of the Administration’s Open Government Initiative, we have been publishing content on GitHub for over a year, and it now includes source code for a mobile application for trademarks.
In April, Facebook made it possible for organizations to use chatbots to send and receive messages from users of Facebook Messenger. That’s a big deal. Facebook Messenger is now used by 900 million people every month. As the name implies, it’s a messaging platform that people use to send short messages to each other through the app. It’s the most popular messaging app in the U.S, and the second most popular of those apps worldwide, behind only WhatsApp (which Facebook also owns).
The Pew Internet and the American Life Project released a report recently that analyzed the use of digital tools for different groups of tech literacies and found some interesting ‘digital divides’ and levels of trust, usage, and skill. The report broke out 5 personas of the American people: Digitally Ready (17 percent of U.S. Adults) are the ardent digital learners confident in online information Cautious Clickers (31 percent of U.
6,000 feet deep, 18 miles wide, 5,000 people per day: The Reality of the Tribal Beat How can a place be remote and virtually unpopulated, yet constantly full of thousands of people and teeming with activity? It certainly seems impossible, but that is exactly the situation at Grand Canyon West (GCW), home of the Hualapai indigenous Indian Tribe and the famous Skywalk. Although well over an hour from the closest town, more than one million people visit each year — arriving mostly by helicopter and tour bus.
In honor of Veterans Day, several VA mobile apps are featured this week in the Apple App Store. In the “For Those Who Serve” collection of resources, Veterans can find the latest military news, essential health and wellness information, and other valuable tools for everyday life. The highlighted VA apps are designed to help Veterans manage their physical and mental health. They are part of a larger suite of VA apps that connect Veterans to essential resources and expand care outside of the VA Medical Center.
Summary: Take a look at how we plan to preserve and pass on the digital history of the Obama administration. President Obama is the first “social media president”: the first to have @POTUS on Twitter, the first to go live on Facebook from the Oval Office, the first to answer questions from citizens on YouTube, the first to use a filter on Snapchat. Over the past eight years, the President, Vice President, First Lady, and the White House have used social media and technology to engage with people around the country and the world on the most important issues of our time (while having some fun along the way).
Trends on Tuesdays: Mobile Phone Camera Upgrades Offer Interesting Opportunities for Government Agencies
Professional photographer and early “iPhonography” pioneer, Chase Jarvis coined the phrase, “The best camera is the one that’s with you.” The recent jumps in mobile phone photo technology presents interesting opportunities for government agencies to consider as mobile phone cameras are starting to rival and surpass professional gear. When Google and Apple both announced their annual flagship phone upgrades this past month, the Pixel XL and iPhone 7 Plus, respectively, the most talked about and touted features were the cameras.
The seemingly sci-fi world envisioned in the movie Her is very close to becoming our reality. Several new developments merging hardware, artificial intelligence technology, chatbots and persistent audio assistants are now available, with software developer kits to expand the platforms. Amazon was first to market with their Echo device, and since have added the Echo Dot, both using their voice assistant “Alexa” to allow users to play music, buy goods from Amazon, call for a cab, check the weather and other tasks—all just using their voice commands.
A few weeks ago, Progressive Web Applications, Part 1: the New Pack Mule of the Internet _introduced PWAs and the technologies behind them. We shared that article to the MobileGov Community of Practice and asked about the pros and cons of this approach to winning mobile moments._ What Are Some Benefits of PWAs? PWAs bring a host of advantages over the traditional native mobile and Web methodologies including:
The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) made history today by releasing the first ever iBook version of the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR). And while a tome about the complex rules governing the federal government’s purchasing process may not sound like a bestseller, the FAR is essential reading not just for federal contracting officers and federal contractors, but owners of small (and large) businesses, too. “Basically, anyone who does or wants to conduct business with the government reads the FAR,” said Dan Briest, Program Manager of Acquisition.
As any experienced retailer will tell you, the customer experience begins at the store entrance. Note the friendly Walmart greeter, the approachable minimalism of an Apple Store, and the calculated whimsy of Anthropologie. Store designers understand that a customer’s decision to make a purchase is often made within seconds of entering. The same holds true for visitors entering a museum. And while most museums are not expert peddlers of merchandise (though some museum stores certainly are), the savvy ones value the entrance experience and work to iterate and improve.
Earlier this year, it was predicted that content marketing would become even more important due to its ability to enhance not just visibility, but also increase engagement with customers—who could, in turn, become great promoters of your content. Needless to say, much of our time these days as communicators is spent on developing, distributing, maximizing, and repurposing content. In the recent blog post, 15 Content Marketing Trends for 2016, it is noted that the “average American spends nearly four hours a day bombarded with different types of content.
****A mule is the hybrid offspring of a male donkey and a horse. This new species is stronger and better equipped than the species from which it comes. Overall, mules tend to be healthier, more sound, and live longer than horses. They are favored over horses in mountainous terrain because the mule has a reputation for being more surefooted than their equine cousins. Finally, mules do not require expensive grains, eat less and don’t tend to overeat as horses do.
The Data Briefing: Harnessing the Internet of Things and Synthetic Data to Provide Better Flood Warnings and Prevent Veterans Suicides
Two significant items in federal government data in the last few weeks: The Department of Commerce releases the National Water Model. The National Water Model provides a comprehensive model of river flows so local communities can better prepare for possible flooding events. What is especially amazing about the National Water Model is that it pulls data from over 8,000 stream gauges. Stream gauges are automated measuring stations that measure water flow, height, surface runoff, and other hydrological data.
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.
September is National Preparedness Month. FEMA’s Ready.gov is encouraging everyone to plan how they would stay safe and communicate during disasters that can affect their communities. Additionally, Ready.gov is encouraging full participation in America’s PrepareAthon! and the national day of action, National PrepareAthon! Day, which culminates National Preparedness Month on September 30. These days, you probably use social media to update your audience on what you are doing, share an interesting article or two, and catch up on the day’s news.
Note: This is a guest blog post by Amando E. Gavino, Jr., Director, Office of Network Services, ITS/FAS/GSA. He is responsible for a portfolio of telecommunication acquisition solutions that provide government agencies the ability to meet their diverse set of telecommunication requirements. Acquisition solutions include Networx, Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions – EIS (the future replacement for Networx), SATCOM, Enterprise Mobility, Connections II, Federal Strategic Sourcing Initiative – Wireless (FSSI-W), and the Federal Relay Service.
The wildly popular, augmented reality game we reported on for Trends on Tuesday a few weeks ago and the focus of a piece about government agencies using it to engage citizens appears to have hit a ceiling and is slowly losing active fans in August according to a recent report in Bloomberg. While the mobile game may be losing audience, from a brand perspective Nintendo’s Pokemon franchise was reinvigorated for a new generation of fans which will pay dividends in the future.
The Data Briefing: Microservices and Serverless Apps — A New Direction for Federal Government Mobile Apps?
Continuing from last week’s column on DevOps and containers, I will explain two other hot trends in IT — microservices and serverless apps. For those who want official federal government guidance, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has released a draft special publication on microservices, application containers, and system virtual machines (PDF, 660 kb, 12 pages, February 2016). I wrote about microservices and containers in February 2015 as two API* trends to watch.
The Pew Research Center released a report in July that shows people of Latino descent are heavily reliant on mobile phones for their Internet access, more than other ethnicities. The report said that since 2012, the percentage of Hispanic adults who used mobile devices to access the Internet jumped from 76% to 94% in 2015. These percentages are higher than both white and African American usage in the same years.
Widgets, Mobile Apps, and SMS: Essential Agency Tools for Summer Heat Safety, Hurricane Season, and Emergency Preparedness
According to recent Pew Research Center surveys, 45 percent of American adults have tablets and 68 percent have smartphones. While the majority of smartphone owners use their mobile devices to keep up with breaking news and stay informed about what is happening in their communities, nearly half, 40 percent, also reported using their smartphones to look up government services or information. As is the case each summer, most of the U.
****Content can be categorized in many ways. While breaking down your website analytics, pay a bit of extra attention to the difference between your short- and long-form content; you may find some interesting discoveries. Let’s first define the two terms: Short – Content that is generally created quickly, and consumed just as fast; e.g., tweets, status updates, short blogs and articles (350 words or less). Long – In-depth content designed to give a large amount of detail and info; e.
“Smart City” is an emerging term to describe how a community – large or small – uses connected technology and/or other data sets to influence and improve the delivery of services to the private and public sectors. By integrating data and connectivity into their daily operations, communities can automate many functions to create efficiencies and maximize their resources. These were just some of the many concepts discussed last week at the Smart Cities Innovation Summit in Austin, Texas, which brought together leaders from over 200 cities and towns to share information about how to best leverage state-of-the-art data solutions for the benefit of their communities.
While you are outside hunting Pokemon or helping your children hunt Pokemon, consider adding another mobile app to your smartphone or tablet. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) mobile app alerts you about severe weather and other natural disasters. The app is also a great information resource on surviving disasters and connects you to FEMA for immediate assistance. A feature you won’t find in many other apps is the ability for users to crowdsource photos of disaster areas to help first responders.
Summary: The Administration announces new wireless research efforts that will improve testing and research of advanced wireless technologies. Benjamin Franklin. Thomas Edison. George Washington Carver. Samuel Morse. America is a nation of inventors, and invention has spurred American growth since its inception, to the benefit of all Americans. [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LkEG8KLvaAc&w=600] That same spirit of invention continues today, and this Administration has worked tirelessly over the past seven years to promote pro-innovation policies to help the U.
The debate between responsive websites and mobile apps took a decisive turn this week when the United Kingdom’s Digital Service (UKDS) banned the creation of mobile apps. In an interview with GovInsider, the founder of UKDS, Ben Terrett, explained that mobile apps were too expensive to build and maintain. Responsive websites were easier to build and updating the application only requires changing one platform. “For government services that we were providing, the web is a far far better way… and still works on mobile,” Terrett said.
“… I have never seen so many people of all ages walking around our civic spaces and small businesses interacting as I have this morning. Teens catching them. People catching them in line for coffee. Moms outsmarting their kids. Local youths teaching my toddler how to throw a ball. Full grown adults. Marines. Kids on scooters. Kids on bikes. 20-somethings walking in packs. How are other small towns faring? Awesome to be outside right now building a community over something so silly and fun.
Augmented Reality games have existed for years, but have mostly failed to catch a mainstream audience; Pokémon Go just changed all that this weekend. The game that launched early this month has exploded in popularity and is close to surpassing Twitter in daily active users, according to Forbes’ Jason Evangelho. “The data gets even more staggering. As of 48 hours ago, Pokémon GO was installed on 5.6% of all Android devices in the United States, and is installed on more Android phones than Tinder (insert “Pokémon is now more popular than sex” joke here),” he cited.
User-Generated Content (UGC) is a buzzword as of late, popularized recently due to the ever increasing demand for new content. To define the phrase, let’s look to a shining example of it,Wikipedia, as a source, “any form of content such as blogs, wikis, discussion forums, posts, chats,tweets, podcasts, digital images, video, audio files, advertisements, and other forms of media that was created by users of an online system or service, often made available via social media websites.
Technology is bringing the world closer together – from connecting people across the country instantly by live video chats to tapping into the insights of data analytics. This is the type of power that FirstNet aims to bring to the public safety community through the nationwide public safety broadband network. FirstNet is working to ensure the deployment of a network for public safety use that will give first responders priority in emergency situations to send voice or text messages, images, video, and location information in real time.
International telecommunications network operator, Ericsson, released their Mobility Report around the future of mobile recently with a bunch of interesting data around the future of telecommunications and mobile. The surprise star of the report is not mobile phones though—although it will continue to grow, especially in emerging markets where it hasn’t reached saturation like it has in the U.S.—it’s the Internet Of Things (IoT), which is projected to surpass mobile phones by 2018 according to Ericsson.
****Gray Brooks of GSA gave us a great definition of APIs in the DigitalGov University (DGU) presentation, Introduction to APIs. He described APIs as “Application Programming Interfaces, or APIs, are web services that allow people to more easily consume content and data in multiple ways—via mobile devices, mobile apps, innovative mash-ups, and much more.” Simply put, “APIs are a better way to get government information and services into the hands of the people who need them.
We’re thrilled to announce the Space Apps 2016 Global Award Winners!! These projects well represent the best of the best innovative thinking this year. Congratulations to all the teams. We look forward to seeing you at an upcoming NASA launch in Florida. Best Use of Data: Scintilla, created at the Space Apps Pasadena, California main stage event, mitigates the impact of poor air quality in the global community by democratizing air quality data collection.
Internet strategist Mary Meeker delivered her 2016 Internet Trends report this month, and there are several key takeaways for government agencies to consider and continue tracking as our connected world continues to evolve: Mobile phone adoption and Internet growth is meeting saturation. Incremental global growth will continue (especially in India, which she called out for their wild expansion) but especially for Americans, most people that want to be on the Internet can be on the Internet.
Today, I am happy to announce the newly optimized DHS.gov website. Over the past year, DHS has worked behind the scenes to update and modernize our flagship website, making it faster and easier to use. Some of the specific differences you’ll see are: Compatibility for both desktop computers and mobile devices (phones and tablets) Cleaner, easier-to-read site format and presentation Faster and more accurate site navigation using our internal search function and external search engines (like Google and Bing) DHS.
Last week, Recode published an articlefocused on a recent report from industry consultant Chetan Sharma that found the largest number of new mobile activations in the first quarter of 2016 came from a ‘different’ kind of mobile tool—cars. There are still a lot of phone and tablet mobile activations happening—31% and 23% of all activations, respectively—but for the first time, cars edged out the smaller mobile devices with 32% of new cellular activations.
Flurry Analytics, a mobile application analytics company owned by Yahoo!, released a new report about app retention. Unless your app usage is around “gambling”—with cards (game apps), with your money (finance apps), with whether or not to bring an umbrella (weather apps), or with your health (fitness apps)—user retention and re-engagement is often a steep wall to climb. The research shows that top trends across Android and Apple apps are similar, but Android users appear to be a little more choosey when it comes to re-using an app: after 30 days, Android app retention clusters around 10%, compared to 14% for Apple.
USAGov recently released a list of six great federal government mobile apps. There were many apps released by the federal government over the last 5-6 years on a wide range of topics and services. Many are well-designed and useful to the American public. So, what are the outstanding federal government apps for 2016? The Department of State’s Smart Traveler. First launched in 2011, this mobile app helps international travelers find U.
Summary: Improving the way you engage with the White House through our online petitions platform In July 2015, we announced a big change in the way we would answer petitions on We the People. We committed to responding to you within a 60-day timeframe, whenever possible. We assembled a team of people dedicated to getting your policy questions and requests to the right people so you get the most informed response.
ComScore released a report with a lot of great data about how mobile digital media usage continues to explode in 2016. It has 70 pages of charts and information to digest. Here are seven key mobile trends and takeaways: Smartphones are exponentially driving digital media usage.** ** Digital media has tripled since 2013 and digital media use is being driven heavily by smartphones—up by 78% since 2013.
A new report about email usage reinforced the importance of always building responsive websites. Yesmail’s quarterly report showed that mobile and desktop email click-to-open rates are converging to almost the same level for the first time ever. As people become more mobile-first and mobile-only users of the Internet, users opening emails on their desktop devices has dropped continuously for the past 2 years, from 22.6% to 15.3%. The report from Yesmail states: “The results certainly support the argument for responsive design,” as those who used responsive design in all of their emails had:
The increasing sophistication of mobile devices has created many opportunities for developers. Thanks to APIs* and open data, developers can build thousands of mobile apps and mobile websites to meet users’ needs. This opportunity has created one of the most contentious debates in the mobile development community: mobile apps versus mobile websites? There is, yet, no solution to the debate. However, there are some advantages and disadvantages to both types of mobile solutions.
Comscore released new data this month about trends in the smartphone space. The data showed that the Android platform grew in market percentage (when combining all Android manufacturers). Android overall grew 1% from September to December at the cost of Apple and Blackberry, which dropped 0.7% and 0.3%, respectively, in smartphone market share. Comscore’s data on the most popular mobile applications showed Facebook and Google properties continue to dominate usage, with the top seven spots owned by the two corporation’s app properties.
Need to get in touch with your audience? Give them a little push. Push notifications allow agencies to connect with their audiences for immediate communication. The Office of Personnel Management’s OPM Alert app provides a real time look at the current operating status for federal offices in the Washington, DC, area and uses push technology to alert users of status changes. While the most well-known use of the OPM Alert is for weather closings, the app can be used to alert users of other events: for example, the app was used to announce the lapse in federal appropriations in 2013 and the resulting office closures (and the later re-opening).
How do you reach audiences with important health information and leave users asking for more? Is it enough to create responsive websites written in plain language or to design apps with health tips optimized for handheld devices? While those ideas are a step in the right direction, we do not live in a world where, “if you build it, they will come.” With a slew of devices and an ever-increasing array of information sources, the most desired commodity in today’s crowd communication channels is attention.
John Connor can’t save you. Robots are here to take over the world. Two interesting new consumer mobile and digital content experiences were launched in the past week, signaling some of the first mainstream brands embracing this new paradigm of interactive, bot-driven content experiences: Quartz’s News App and The New York Times Election Slack Bot. Both leverage different scripted technology but signal that large consumer-facing brands are using messaging technology as an experience and interface for interacting and sending and receiving information smartly.
You may have heard some chatter about syndication but thought to yourself—sounds good but does it really work? The answer is—Absolutely!! Here is your Proof NIH News in Health is a monthly newsletter that has recently been syndicated. Since syndication, the newsletter’s content can be found on multiple websites. These websites include state and local governments, non-profit groups and private companies. Here is an example of the newsletter on the NIH website.
Google Product Director and author, Luke Wroblewski, wrote a piece about how perfecting your Day 1 experience for users is critical because retention after that point is incredibly difficult. Wroblewski said that 25% of native mobile apps are abandoned after their first use and that the number of active users drops 77% in the first three days after installation. To combat that drop off, he suggested focusing on your onboarding and the user’s first experience with the app through things like gradual sign-ups, since many people will turn off completely when they hit that wall.
No one wants to feel helpless in an emergency situation. To provide tips and assistance anytime, anywhere, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) stepped up their mobile game. FEMA developed an SMS service and an app to engage with users while they’re on the go. The app is available on Android, Apple and Blackberry. While the SMS service is limited to alerts and searches for nearby shelters, the app offers additional functionality, including the Disaster Reporter crowdsourcing feature.
It’s Saturday night: Do you know what your mobile app is doing? Securing your mobile device is hard (no matter what day of the week). And there are numerous threats that can be posed by the apps on your device: an app could be spying on you, stealing your money, stealing data or reconfiguring the settings on your device. Security and privacy are part of the six Mobile User Experience Guidelines developed by the MobileGov Community of Practice.
__Phablets, once mocked for their large size, may be the next big form factor dominating mobile devices, if new data from the holiday season is any indication. Flurry Mobile, part of Yahoo’s mobile analytics division, published two reports about phablet devices at the beginning of the new year, showing their continued growth and that people use them more than traditional or smaller mobile devices. The percentage of new phablet-sized phone activations during the 2014-2015 holiday period more than doubled to 27% from 13%.
As we move into 2016, here are 10 trends I foresee flourishing around mobile, technology and government: The mobile-majority tipping point in government. Many agencies are already past this point, but as a whole, government websites are still desktop-majority, with 66% of people accessing federal websites via desktop and 34% on mobile. In 2016, the double-digit mobile growth will continue to accelerate and surpass 50% for almost all agencies. (Much of the Web passed this point last year or in 2014, btw).
The Pew Research Center released an interesting report about home Internet usage that revealed broadband usage plateaued in 2013 and, in fact, dropped 3% in 2015. Later in the report, Pew states the growth in mobile-only audiences compensated for the drop in home broadband usage, so the overall number of people with Internet access hasn’t changed significantly. While 100% home broadband penetration may never be attainable for a number of reasons, Pew’s research found cost is the major reason for most people, cited by 43% of non-broadband users.
In the sea of apps, users get choosey with which apps can take up space on their phone. With one uninstall click the user can decide to breakup with the app if they have a bad experience. To keep your app from being all alone, the MobileGov Community of Practice put together six Mobile User Experience Guidelines to help keep mobile users in love. DigitalGov University hosted a webinar in which the American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) highlighted two of these guidelines.
Let the mic drop! Mobile moments are created with the expectation that an app can stun the crowd. Do not let your audience down; they may never come back. Federal Student Aid (FSA), in an effort to provide better customer service, decided to build a mobile-responsive website. Kaegy Pabulos, a Borrower Experience Specialist and project manager for StudentAid.gov, described this as a challenge because of the need to combine over 12 different websites into one access center.
U.S. shoppers are increasingly using their mobile devices to make purchases during the busiest shopping days: Black Friday and Thanksgiving weekend. According to Custora, online Black Friday sales rose more than 16% compared to last year, and smartphone use rose to more than 36% (up from 30% last year), with iPhones accounting for the lion’s share of purchases: 77.6%, compared to 22.1% for Android. The Apple iOS purchase dominance was cited by other reports too.
Geological phenomena such as steaming mud craters, bubbling mud pools, hot springs and geysers are some of the exhilarating features of a geo-thermal wonderland. Old Faithful in Yellowstone National Park falls into this category. If you are planning a visit to Yellowstone, you can download the National Park Service (NPS)’s NPS Yellowstone Geysers free mobile app from iTunes for iOS and Google Play for Android devices. The app is simple to use with a straightforward menu structure.
How do you capture millennial and Hispanic eyes? Through their hands. (More specifically: their mobile devices, and the social apps within!). AdAge recently analyzed a study from Nielsen’s Homescan panel which found that in a typical month, 12.2% of millennials can only be reached through TV (looking at the top 10 networks only) versus 14.2% who can only be reached on Facebook. The numbers are similar for U.S. Hispanics: 16.
Josh Clark, one of the pioneers of touch Web design, and author of Tapworthy and Designing for Touch, published an excellent article on A List Apart analyzing How We Hold Our Gadgetsthat has a wealth of data and graphics about this interesting and emerging design challenge. Below are 5 notable lessons from the post: 1. Portrait (vertical) orientation dominates over landscape (horizontal) usage with a 60-40 split. This is often driven by the app or content experience and will probably continue to grow more divided as many applications now aren’t even offering landscape orientations anymore—including Facebook, Flipboard, Instagram, Pandora, even Netflix (on Android, however, along with video playback, Netflix’s library browsing mode can still be viewed horizontally).
A recent DigitalGov webinar on syndicated content and the recent achievements of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention helped open my eyes even wider to the possibilities of open and structured content. By offering critical health information via syndication, CDC and other Department of Health and Human Services agencies are helping resource-strapped local agencies share critical Web content with very little effort. APIs and Syndication Structured content and APIs form the core of any open content platform, whether it be syndication or other types of data sharing.
“My Disability is One Part of Who I Am” was the theme of the 70th National Disability Employment Awareness Month this past October. We celebrated the many contributions of our friends and co-workers with disabilities and recognized the diverse skills and talents they bring to our workplace. However, the real question is: how do we create a comfortable work environment that provides equal access and growth opportunities for all? The Department of Defense’s Computer/Electronic Accommodations Program (CAP) created a free app that is available for download at the iTunes App Store and Google Play.
An industry group tracking the growth and production of the “Internet of Things,” a term given to Internet-connected devices and accessories, is predicting that growth will slow over the next 6 months, but then surge 3 times as fast, over the following year. The research was organized by the IoT M2M Council, which is made up of 140 executives in the Internet of Things space. MediaPost described it as “the calm before the IoT storm.
ComScore released a new 2015 U.S. Mobile App report tracking native mobile app usage among adults over 18 years old, and it reinforced a lot of the trends we’ve been reporting on DigitalGov. Quartz succinctly summarized the reportwith the headline: “You really only use three apps on your phone.” The report clearly pointed out that Americans spend 50% of their time in their most-used app, and 78% in their top three favorite apps.
There are several things federal agencies need to think about in the mobile space. Is my website responsive, so that consumers can view it on any device (desktop/laptop, tablet, smartphone)? Do I have mobile apps that fill citizen needs? But does texting have a place in the U.S. government, as we strive to serve citizens where THEY are? Here are at least 9 factors you need to consider, according to GovDelivery, and Forrester analysts Art Schoeller and Thomas Husson:
What is mobile-friendly? Mobile-friendly simply means your visitors can use phones and tablets to visit your website and have a user-friendly experience. Many of us get toward the end of mobile site development and really do not know if what we created is “mobile-friendly.” We think we have followed all of the mobile best practices and performed usability testing. However, do we have something concrete to quantitatively certify that we are mobile-friendly?
A review of the Digital Analytics Program (DAP) data confirms what many are already saying: Content is being viewed on mobile devices more than ever before, and the percentage of sessions via mobile devices is growing. Three things are evident when looking at the breakdown of sessions on federal government websites across device types over the last three years: Percentage of tablet sessions stayed about the same (~7%) Share of sessions via desktop (includes laptop) dropped significantly (from 80% to 66%) Share of sessions via mobile devices (not including tablet) more than doubled (from 13% to 27%) Within the last year, we saw the combined mobile and tablet percentage exceed one-third of all sessions.
DigitalGov’s theme this month is mobile moments, which explores the impact of mobile applications in the federal government. For this post, I am examining the more than 300 mobile apps created by the federal government. An updated list of federal mobile apps is on USA.gov. According to the list, 73 federal organizations have released mobile apps on a wide variety of topics. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has the most mobile apps with 31 releases.
The New York Times recently published a report evaluating the cost of mobile ads on news websites and found that on many of the major sites, the ads were taking as much bandwidth and time as the content (if not more, in some cases). This comes after the recent hubub over Apple starting to allow ad blockers on their mobile operating system to cut down on aggressive, high-bandwidth consuming ads, analytics, and tracking software that slows down the mobile experience for users.
NASA recently announced the winners of a smartwatch app interface competition. A Canadian duo won the design competition, and NASA’s plan is to build the app with 2016 funding to have it available for astronauts to use when they are aboard the International Space Station. This is the first government smartwatch app development we’ve talked about on DigitalGov and an example of a great mobile moment use case. Not only is the smart app interesting (see the UI images!
Move over, 60 inch widescreens—for the first time ever, U.S. consumers are spending more time in mobile apps than on TV. An article from Flurry Insights, the blog for Yahoo’s mobile analytics service, covered the recent viewing trends. Apps are now the top media channel in the United States: on average, people spend 198 minutes on mobile apps every day, while spending only 168 minutes watching TV. The article noted that the 198 minutes spent on apps does not include time spent on a mobile browser: with that time added, users spend 220 minutes on mobile devices every day (a little more than 3.
A penny saved is a penny earned. But spending your pennies on mobile development is necessary to meet 21st century needs. Regardless of how you plan to create that awesome anytime, anywhere mobile experience, it’s going to cost you. While the most obvious parts of the mobile price tag for native app development are initial development and launch, the long term maintenance of the app must also be considered.
In our personal lives, most of us barely pay attention to Terms of Service (TOS) agreements. But in our professional lives, as federal employees, mindlessly clicking through a TOS is not an option. The DigitalGov article Getting to Yes: Working with Vendors to Secure Terms of Service and Federal Friendly Pricing explored the legal dilemmas that arise when negotiating TOS agreements for government use of tools, and how federal employees can communicate the benefits of federal-friendly agreements to businesses.
Yahoo’s mobile analytics service, Flurry, released a new and provocative report about mobile apps versus mobile browser usage, in which they found audiences are spending almost an hour more with their mobile phones than last year. They also discussed the importance of how “content is king” in mobile apps. The top mobile app categories included mobile messaging/social applications, entertainment, and games, which is nothing new; these continue to reign as the most popular among users as repeat research from different sources continues to prove this.
Our children spend a lot of time at school. Multiple studies have shown a direct correlation between the learning environment and student behavior. Poorly maintained school facilities with run-down buildings, broken windows, etc., lead to disorderly conduct in students, affect their ability to concentrate and learn, affect teachers, pose health risks, and reduce overall community satisfaction. One environmental factor that can affect the performance and health of students and staff alike is indoor air quality (IAQ).
Every second counts, even those precious two or three seconds it takes your website to load. When it comes to mobile, users won’t wait. During a recent DigitalGov University webinar, Jeremy Vanderlan, Technical Deputy for AIDS.gov, explained how even fractions of a second can have a negative impact on a user’s impression of your website. Performance/load time for Web pages has become so important that Google now considers it one of three equal components to good user experience, along with design and functionality, he noted.
Benedict Evans, a leading mobile analyst with the Silicon Valley venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, published a provocative post last week about the death of the mobile Internet. He details the history of the mobile Web and posits that the mobile Internet is the Internet now. The desktop version of the Internet audience is smaller and declining, so organizations should focus resources on developing the mobile-optimized version first.
Google has announced a second wave of ‘Mobilegeddon’ search penalties for websites using mobile app install interstitials. Beginning November 1st, mobile app Web pages that use large app install interstitials to hide content from the users will be downgraded in search results for not being mobile-friendly. These are the kind of pop-ups you get when you land on a website for the first time and it immediately prompts you to install their app before you see or experience any content A smarter strategy for this kind of prompt would be to set a tracking cookie and only prompt users that have come back multiple times to the website or base the prompt on a longer period of time or number of pageviews into a visit before you prompt users—not before they even get to see the website.
On DigitalGov, we frequently talk about some of the most popular app experiences, and research almost always shows that mobile messaging and social apps are the most frequently used. Pew Research released a new report specifically about these wildly popular channels for mobile engagement, specifically focused on how youth use them, with some interesting results that government agencies should pay attention to for their digital strategies. The report author, Maeve Duggan, said, “The results in this report reflect the noteworthy and rapid emergence of different kinds of communications tools serving different social needs.
With 14 test cycles under our belt, the Federal CrowdSource Mobile Testing Program has heard one recurring theme from our testers—”there’s too much information!” While both desktop monitor and smartphone screen sizes are growing, there is still no comparison. At our desks, many of us are using a 24 inch (or even bigger) monitor. How big is your smart phone? Way smaller than a desktop monitor. The user will have a radically different experience on a desktop, and they are usually expecting a different experience.
We all know it is virtually impossible to prevent natural phenomena such as hurricanes, volcanic eruptions, floods, tornadoes, earthquakes, tsunamis etc., and we cannot easily avoid these inevitable geological and climatic incidences, as they are typically unpredictable and occur swiftly. The United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) report, released in March 2015, states that economic losses from disasters are now reaching an average of $250 billion to $300 billion, annually.
Yahoo’s mobile analytics division, Flurry, released an interesting report, in July, comparing mobile usage among three distinct types of users around the world based on how frequently they launch mobile applications each day: Regular Users, Super Users and Mobile Addicts. According to Flurry, of the 1.855 billion total mobile app users in the world: 985 million people or 53% are Regular Users 590 million people or 32% are Super Users 280 million people or 15% are Mobile Addicts Each of these categories grew at least 26%, or more, compared to 2014, with Mobile Addicts’ growth exploding to 59% in a year-over-year comparison.
In most instances, your hardware and software are developed independently but are expected to function properly together. For example, when a Web application is developed in HTML, it is expected to function properly on an Apple computer using Safari as well as a Windows computer using Internet Explorer. This sounds simple, but there are thousands of combinations of browser types and versions as well as operating systems, and the number of combinations increases exponentially as we add in the multitude of mobile device makes and models.
David Morell, a software engineer with Google, posted an interesting case study from the tech giant, sharing data about how users interacted with interstitials (ie webpages displayed before or after an expected content page) on their website. Their analysis showed that 69% of users completely abandoned the page and their original intent after being shown an interstitial. Interstitials take many forms on the Web—native app installation prompts, advertisements, survey opt-in requests (popular on some government sites), email sign-up forms, etc.
Government agencies need to make sure their mobile websites and native apps don’t become one of the estimated billions of applications that end up in the app graveyard. The need for digital products to work better is not new in the federal government. Resources like the Digital Playbook and Public Participation Playbook have had impact helping agencies become user-friendly and both of these resources note the importance of developing usable products for mobile users.
Digital communities of practice come in many stripes. DigitalGov communities span eight (and counting) focus areas and have thousands of members, but strong collaborations exist in all corners of government. In honor of this month’s communities theme, we are offering a list of communities that foster connections and strengthen the digital capabilities of federal agencies. Here is a list of some communities working in the digital arena: 18F /Developer Program CIO Council: Accessibility Community of Practice CIO Council: Privacy Community of Practice Crowdsourcing and Citizen Science Drupal for Government eCPIC Federal Steering Committee (FESCom) Federal Communicators Network Federal Intranet Content Managers Federal Knowledge Management Community Federal Librarians Ideation Community of Practice Mobile Health (m Health) Training Institutes Training Institutes”) Open Data listserv: Anyone with a .
In July, comScore released a research paper, The Global Mobile Report: How Multi-Platform Audiences & Engagement Compare in the U.S., Canada, UK and Beyond, covering a lot of areas from smartphone penetration to Android vs. Apple preferences. The most impactful trend for government agencies might be best communicated through this graphic: In the U.S., tablets and smartphones are driving the majority of digital media usage for 18-to 54-year-olds. People 55 and older are on the cusp of breaking the 50% barrier for mobile and tablet usage.
England’s Government Digital Service (similar to our own U.S. Digital Services and 18F) did a study of how content on their websites is consumed on mobile and non-mobile devices and learned several key points for a future-focused and mobile-friendly government organization: Mobile platforms account for the lion’s share of most of their content (see their graphic above), so being mobile-first and at least mobile-optimized is mandatory. More intense, complex tasks are still frequently started on desktops, but young and less affluent users expect to be able to do them on their smartphone.
Millennial Media released a new research report, Connected Consumers: Gaining Insights Across Screens, examining U.S. digital audiences from January 2014 until January 2015 with some interesting information that reinforces trends we’ve covered before. If your users fall into these demographics, you need to mobilize the content they’re accessing on mobile devices. Mobile and Tablet Devices Account for Majority of Time If your audience is predominantly under 55 years old, you must be mobile-friendly because more than 60% of that audience’s digital consumption time is spent on mobile and tablet devices.
All content needs to be developed with a mobile-first strategy, from headline choice to paragraph length. Although we are all now living in a post-mobilegeddon world, many of us are still implementing a mobile strategy. This strategy should consider several factors, including viewport size, cellular versus WiFi considerations, and load times. It should also include a review of existing content and a rethinking of new content, down to what I will call the “cellular” level (no pun intended).
Earlier this year, we published 15 Government Customer Service Trends for 2015. We’re halfway through the year now—how are these trends holding up? 1. Centralized Customer Offices A few agencies have created centralized customer offices, while others question the need for a single organization that focuses on the customer. As the public’s overall satisfaction with the federal government continues to fall, a single organization can monitor customer feedback from across the enterprise to identify and address problems with the customer experience (CX).
Summer is here, which means it is time for the biggest holiday of the summer—Fourth of July! Independence Day is a happy time of year: BBQs, picnics, pools, sunshine and fireworks. Of course, the foundation of our celebration is American history, and there are plenty of excellent federal apps focused on this area. The American Battle Monuments Commission maintains 25 overseas military cemeteries that honor the service and sacrifices of U.
Mobile. It’s here, and it’s here to stay! Agencies in all areas of government meet real world needs through mobile products. Creating effective mobile products requires planning, however. Agencies who have created native apps outlined three areas they considered in the mobile development process: strategy, business requirements and measuring value. Strategy Before creating a mobile product, you must analyze how it will fit into your agency’s strategy. Not only is this information essential in justifying the need for mobile, it also will help quantify the application’s value when you examine mobile metrics.
The more you test, the more you know. We recently highlighted lessons learned from the CrowdSource Mobile Testing Program, discussed the mobile emulator dilemma that many agencies face, and today we’re back with a few insights on native app testing. The Federal CrowdSource Mobile Testing Program yields a rich set of participant feedback that helps individual app creators improve their product. While the program primarily tests mobile websites created by federal agencies, the team tested early prototypes of the American Battle Monuments Commission’s Normandy App and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s CrowdMag app as a pilot.
Disasters can strike at anytime, and responders now have another tool in their repertoire to aid survivors. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has developed the Behavioral Health Disaster Response Mobile App to assist mental health responders with pre-deployment and on-the ground information and resources. SAMHSA has placed their key resource materials in this handy to use app so that responders do not need to keep track of multiple pamphlets and fact sheets.
Government agencies have created a variety of apps to meet the needs of the public. As you join in on the mobile first trend and begin developing your shiny new mobile application, you will need to test it. There are a basic set of questions that must be answered: Does it function properly? Does it function properly on the different mobile devices your customers are using? Do all developers and testers need a collection of devices to physically test the application with?
Silicon Valley analyst Mary Meeker’s annual 2015 Internet Trends report has been released and is an exhaustive analysis of the world’s digital evolution (often mobile first driven) and how it is affecting business, culture and information. Previous years’ reports have tracked emerging tech from mobile to 3D printing, and this year is no different. Here are some of the key highlights from the report for government agencies and mobile-focused people:
Mobile device penetration is growing, with larger screens providing more real-estate for content and users completing more complex tasks over longer periods of engagement. However, the new wave of digital screens on watches and wearables is requiring organizations to consider how to build smaller, faster and simpler interfaces to prepare for “glanceable moments.” Ted Schadler from Forrester Research provided the following explanation: “here’s a rule of thumb: people will stare at a desktop screen for 3 minutes.
In April, comScore released new mobile data, and it pointed to the continuing growth of smartphones as the dominant mobile platform, especially in the United States, with almost a 77% smartphone penetration. Android and Apple continue to dominate the operating system market share with 52.8% and 41.7%, respectively. The report said that “186.3 million people in the U.S. owned smartphones (76.6% mobile market penetration) during the three months ending in February, up 5% since November.
The drum beat of the continuing and quick cultural shift to mobile device dominance continues to grow—Google announced that more searches take place on mobile devices than desktops in 10 countries, including the U.S. and Japan. These searches are often driven by ‘need-to-know’ information or utility-based actions (rather than entertainment or more passive consumption), which aligns with a lot of the information and resources government agencies provide on their digital properties.
Consumers are buying less tablets and more phablets, especially in the U.S. Three recent research reports released in the past week from IDC, Flurry and Kantar each point to a shift in consumer purchasing habits over the past quarter, showing that consumers are reducing the number of tablet devices purchased with an increase in “phablet” or large 5-inch sized phones increasing. “Phablets claimed 21% of all U.S. smartphone sales in Q1 2015 – nearly quadrupling their 6% share from the first quarter of 2014,” Katar WorldPanel’s report cites.
Before coming to DC in late 2008, I lived in Louisville, Kentucky. Louisville is in the Ohio Valley Region, which meteorologists euphemistically call “weather-rich.” With spring came the beautiful flowers and the Kentucky Derby. Spring also brought flooding, tornadoes, severe thunderstorms, and windstorms. This is why I had several emergency weather radios that also doubled as flashlights and cell phone chargers. I also have several emergency information apps on my smartphone.
Smartphones make up 75% of the mobile market—which makes mobile-friendliness a must for government agencies. With the recent update to Google’s search algorithm, or what some are calling Mobilegeddon, the case for building a mobile-friendly site becomes even stronger. For many government organizations, responsive Web design (RWD) has been the answer to their mobile question. While RWD is by no means a panacea, it can provide agencies with a way to reach their customers on many devices with one site.
The Pew Research Center just released a report on how Americans view open government data. The following findings were based on a November to December 2014 survey of 3,212 adults. Two-thirds of Americans use the Internet or an app to connect with the government. According to Pew, 37% use the Internet to connect with the federal government, 34% connect with their state government, and 32% connect with their local government.
Mobile apps meet real world needs. App development is not a homogenous process, however. Apple and Android devices are overwhelmingly dominant in device ownership and app development. So, we examined the Federal Mobile Apps Directory for iOS and Android offerings. We noticed a predominance of iOS applications: 170 apps were available on iOS, while only 93 were available on Android. So, we wondered: what makes federal app development iOS-centric?
Much is being said and written about the coming Mobilegeddon/Mopocalypse on April 21st—the day Google’s ranking algorithm will begin boosting results for mobile-friendly sites and penalizing mobile-unfriendly sites. While some agency websites are mobile-friendly, a great many are not. We will do well to pay attention—almost 25% of traffic on government websites is coming from mobile devices. And if responding to the UX needs of 25% of site visitors is not enough argument, perhaps the Google algorithm update will convince agencies that it’s time to upgrade.
Mobile video is starting to hit its second wave for both consumption and creation, and government agencies can prepare now to ride this new channel for mobile and social engagement. Fueled by mobile bandwidth and cellular stability steadily increasing and consumers’ comfort with larger mobile devices fueling more video watching on mobile, a plethora of social apps now allow you to live stream and watch on mobile devices.
The Pew Research Center released a deep research dive into “U.S. Smartphone Use in 2015” that provided three big ideas and data points for government agencies to consider when planning their digital strategies. More than 2/3 of Americans have smartphones; many of those are mobile first or mobile only Internet users. The report detailed that 6 in 10 Americans own a smartphone (64%), and 2 in 10 Americans now access the Internet primarily through their mobile phone (25%).
When the Employment and Training Administration’s CareerOneStop team embarked on a redesign of the site’s online career, training, and job resources, they didn’t dive right into the technical work. Instead, they embraced a user-centered approach that focused on the user experience (UX). Focusing on UX means taking a step back to learn about users’ core needs and preferences. The team asked real users several questions about the site.
ComScore reported last week that smartphones now make up a whopping 75% of the mobile market. That’s up from 65% just one year ago. This means three-quarters of Americans over the age of 13 now have smartphones, and they are accessing government services with them more and more. This is an undeniable fact because earlier this month the White House announced the Digital Analytics Dashboard. The announcement noted the importance of mobile-friendliness, stating that the Dashboard showed 33% of all traffic to federal sites over a 90-day period came from people using phones and tablets.
The new app from the Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration called “QCMobile” empowers U.S. motorists to make safety their highest priority on the roadways this spring. This is a continued theme in DOT’s mobile strategy, as they have also recently released the SaferRide app. QCMobile (QC stands for “Query Central”) is a free download for anyone interested in reviewing the DOT registration and safety performance information of motor carriers.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s new “DrugShortages” app gives the public access to important—and sometimes critical—drug shortage information easier and faster than ever before. Drugs in short supply can delay or deny needed care for patients. Shortages may also lead health care professionals to rely on alternative drug products, which may be less effective or associated with higher risks than the drug in shortage. The app uses a searchable database to provide real-time information to key stakeholders, including health care practitioners and pharmacists.
Mobile World Congress, the world’s largest mobile infrastructure, software, hardware, product and app show, took place in Barcelona, Spain, and I attended for the fifth time. This year’s show shattered previous records with more than 93,000 attendees across all the areas that mobile touches. Here are a few notable trends and topics that I came away with and what government agencies should learn from them: Phone Sizes One notable trend (or slowing of an explosive trend) was the size of mobile devices seems to have stabilized—for now.
One of the leading mobile app analytics companies, Flurry, released their annual mobile app growth report with some interesting data showing how audiences are changing the way they engage with mobile applications. Overall, mobile app usage grew 76% in 2014, and the top app categories included: “Lifestyle & Shopping,” growing 174%; “Utilities & Productivity,” growing 121%; “Messaging & Social,” growing 89%; and “Health & Fitness” and “Travel” categories, both growing 89% year over year.
As the use of smartphones continues to grow, it has become even more important for websites to be mobile-friendly. Google has been aware of this trend for quite some time. In response to this trend, Google made it a lot simpler for users to see mobile-friendly websites within search results by the use of a mobile-friendly tag back in November. In order to assist the anytime, anywhere user, Google will begin ranking mobile-friendly sites higher in search results in April.
Resolutions and predictions abound this time of year. If you’ve already lost the fight to finally give up sardine ice cream, you can always resolve to maintain or improve your digital media accessibility. Some people say that accessibility and Section 508 compliance squashes innovation and new trends, but with the right approach, you can make them accessible. When you consider accessibility at every project’s onset, you’ll make the most of these trends and engage your audience and, perhaps, gain new users.
Marketers are increasingly using SMS, push notifications, mobile apps, location-based functionality and other mobile-first techniques to reach constituents. That’s according to a recent article from Marketingland.com, which provided an overview of the mobile trends presented in Salesforce’s 2015 State of Marketing Report. The report was based on a survey of 5,000 marketers in 10 countries. Some notable survey results were: More than one-quarter of marketers have a mobile app (27%).
According to some experts, over 80% of Americans will make a least one New Year’s resolution. There are the usual “lose weight,” “quit smoking,” or “exercise more” resolutions. Another popular set of resolutions involves learning new skills. So, if you are looking for a way to improve yourself while helping others, think about making a resolution to learn how to build a mobile app that can be used in disaster relief.
Government mobile code developed to help make tables mobile-friendly in one agency has now been used in another agency’s mobile efforts. Last month, Clair Koroma told DigitalGov readers about code that the Department of Health and Human Services had developed to make website tables mobile-friendly and then HHS shared it on the Mobile Code Sharing Catalog. Debra Fiorrito from the Defense Financial Accounting Service and her developer, Todd Posius, have implemented the code on the DFAS.
Who to call? Where to meet? What to pack? How to find fuel? Make sure your personal disaster preparedness plan includes how to quickly find functioning gas stations in your area with help from the Department of Energy’s Lantern Live app. The app crowdsources the ability to find fuel during an emergency through user-generated status reports of local gas stations. It also allows users to check for power outages in the area, and includes useful tips and guidelines for emergency situations.
It has finally happened: Mobile has bumped TV as America’s first screen. Recent analysis from Flurry Analytics, which included data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, found that time spent on mobile devices grew in the U.S. by 9.3% to 2 hrs and 57 minutes, while time spent watching TV has remained flat at 2 hrs and 48 minutes daily. So what are some of the factors that helped mobile snatch the big prize from television?
A website redesign is never an easy task, but when responsiveness is one of your redesign’s key goals, special considerations come into play that can present unique challenges. In the September webinar on Responsive Web Design Challenges in Government, we heard from two agencies who identified coordination, leadership buy-in and content decisions when mobilizing their websites. Marissa Newhall, acting director of the Office of Digital Strategy and Communications at the Department of Energy (DOE), shared the reasons for going responsive with the energy.
What’s your mobile itch? A long time ago at a workshop not so far away…we asked the 40 federal government innovators who had released native apps this question. We wanted to know their biggest barriers, challenges, frustrations to building anytime, anywhere government. Their generosity in telling us those pain points informed 2011’s Making Mobile Gov Project, which identified 10 challenges to implementing mobile apps and responsive websites for public audiences in the federal government.
Recently, I was designing new outreach materials and needed a way to connect this offline collateral with my agency’s digital content. Using a QR (or Quick Response) code immediately came to mind, followed by the question, “Are QR codes still relevant?” Opinions differ on their utility and I couldn’t find any objective data on how often they were scanned by users. Even their inventor has doubts about their shelf life.
Congress.gov ushered in the new fiscal year by removing the beta label from its URL two years after it launched. During this period, the Library of Congress not only extensively tested how the site would display on any device, but in a series of releases and enhancements, completely transformed the ability to find legislative information as the successor to THOMAS. With Congress.gov you can now find information via: A resources section with an A-Z list of hundreds of links related to Congress An improved Advanced Search capability with 30 new fields available to construct increasingly detailed and intricate searches that you can then save.
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?
We’ve seen (and experienced) a dramatic growth in mobile consumption in recent years. From app downloads to tablet ownership, the use of mobile devices continues to trend up. But, is this at the expense of desktop computer usage? Not really. The growth of mobile activity is incremental to what’s happening on existing platforms, according to comScore. Let’s take a closer look at mobile vs. PC usage over the past year:
First, it was party lines. Then, it was the rotary phone. Now, two-in-five (41%) U.S. households have officially said goodbye to landlines, according to a recent report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s National Center for Health Statistics. If you have been keeping up with previous mobile trends, you won’t be surprised to learn who has decided to cut the telephone cord: An estimated 39.
In a few short years, the number of mobile apps has exploded, and the time spent on apps continues to increase. However, one thing hasn’t changed: the number of apps individuals use. The average smartphone owner uses 22 to 28 apps in a month, according to new data from Nielsen. Here are a few highlights from the report: U.S. smartphone users age 18 and over spend 30 hours, 15 minutes using apps each month, 65 % more time than they did just two years ago.
Apps that are downloaded, used a few times and then never used again, are considered part of the “app graveyard.” In fact, 95% of apps are discarded within a month of download by users, according to Smashing Magazine. By focusing on creating a great user experience, you can make sure your agency apps are used consistently and don’t end up in the app graveyard. Smashing Magazine lists some “Lessons Learned From the App Graveyard” that government agencies should heed.
The job of the American Battle Monument Commission (AMBC) is to manage all overseas cemeteries and memorials from WWI and WWII. There are over 200,000 veterans who are buried or memorialized at these cemeteries. When ABMC began thinking about releasing a native mobile application, they had two primary objectives: 1) The app should be able to serve as a “tour guide” to the millions of visitors who visit the memorials in person.
Responsive Web design is widely-known as a go-to solution for designing a website to fit on any device’s screen size. As we found in our February workshop, federal agencies are implementing it for various reasons. There are various ways to implement responsive design. Some agencies have implemented it via structured data and content modeling and others have completely redesigned their website. Agencies who are not yet at that point are looking for ways they can begin.
Mobile devices are moving closer to the center of the social universe, according to this Sproutsocial article. Platforms like Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter are overwhelmingly used on the go. Comscore predicts that there will be increasing monetization via social in the coming years. In the banking industry, where data shows many people have stopped going to brick and mortar banks, tying mobile and social together is critical. Organizations are increasingly adopting a SoLoMo approach in which they leverage the interplay between social, local and mobile.
We had a GREAT DigitalGov Citizen Services Summit today. There were more than 200 digital innovators from across government and industry working to build the 21st century government the public expects. The four panels focused on performance analysis, customer service across channels, inter-agency work, and public private partnerships. Here’s what you missed in a short highlight video. [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EIWwnomPxo4&w=600]
What if a single piece of paper could make your mobile app work 20% better? It’s hard to imagine something as unimpressive as paper influencing our 21st century smartphones, but it’s true. Well before we get into the design and coding phases, we can show customers a mockup of an idea of what our product might look like. It’s called a prototype (or a wireframe)—it’s a model of a design that’s still in development.
Two years ago, federal agencies were set on a fast track to create a 21st century digital government. The Federal Digital Strategy served up a heaping set of deliverables on a tight timeline. Agencies opened data sets, built mobile apps and websites, published APIs, created and updated digital governance structures, and joined with other agencies in measuring digital services performance. Last May, as the final deadlines were met, some asked, “What’s next?
It’s no secret, if you want to reach Millennials, mobile is a great way to connect. This generation of tech-natives is adept at accessing large amounts of information held in the palms of their hands. However, their information overload also poses a challenge for agencies competing to gain their attention. The Center for Media Research presents four suggestions for crafting a mobile strategy that will engage Millennials: Have a mobile site.
Have you ever opened an email on your smartphone, and then switched to your laptop to read the attachment or write your response? According to a new multi-device study, you’re not alone. More than 40 percent of all online adults move across devices—they start an activity on one device and finish it on another. Reasons behind the switch… Comfort and convenience: the main reasons why people change devices mid-activity are to use a larger screen and for easier typing Increases with the number of devices owned: 54% of people who own two devices and 73% of people who own three devices switch between them to complete tasks or activities Other key considerations: urgency of the task, length of time involved, security and privacy concerns and the level of detail required It’s important that we keep the online journey of our customers in mind when designing for the web.
Our digital gov neighbors in the U.K. have been working on their own digital strategy, including the consolidating into a single website. When the GOV.UK team introduced social sharing buttons, that allow users to post a link to the page on Facebook or Twitter, on their pages, it wasn’t in response to audience request, but as an experiment. And after two and a half months, they decided to do some analysis.
In the last 15 months, the federal Digital Analytics Program (DAP) monthly Web traffic has grown to more than 1.1 billion views gov-wide, providing Web analytics to 29 U.S. federal cabinet-level agencies and nearly 3,000 public-facing government Web properties. The mission of the DAP is to help improve digital citizen services by providing comprehensive digital analytics, training and best practices to agencies. Information reported in DAP Web Analytics is a gold mine for research and analysis for improving the effectiveness, efficiency and relevancy of information and services provided on the government websites.
Building quality mobile products is the greatest challenge for succeeding in the mobile space according to an infographic by SmartBear. One key to developing quality mobile products is testing, as “nearly 50% of consumers will delete an app if they encounter just a single bug.” As a result the following processes are used to ensure a quality mobile app: Manual Testing – 27.96% Automated Testing – 18.16% API Testing – 16.
Responsive Web design implementations in the federal government have members of the Mobile Gov Community of Practice asking what is responsive Web design and how do we do it? In February, the Mobile Gov Community of Practice hosted a workshop with more than 40 feds from 19 agencies to answer these questions. This article is the first in a series of articles and events to highlight what we learned at the workshop and explore related topics agencies need to consider when implementing this technology.
Need to make a pitch for injury prevention? About to give an impromptu public health presentation that can benefit from a few sobering data points about leading causes of death in your state? (Or maybe you just have a keen interest in the macabre while waiting for the bus.) Well, go grab your iPads: The Center for Disease Control’s national Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System or WISQARS has now been packaged into a portable mobile app for iPad users that performs when and where you need it.
The mobile health (mHealth) market is projected to become a $50 billion industry by 2020, and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has been actively contributing to the rise of the mHealth applications. The agency uses public prize competitions like the recent “Game On: HIV/STD Prevention Mobile Application Video Game Challenge” to crowdsource a variety of health apps for the public in addition to creating mHealth apps in-house.
Mobile devices are uploading data faster and mobile users are starting to expect better performance, according to Citrix. Fifty percent of web pages are taking 37.5% less time to load on a mobile device than they did just a year ago according the Citrix Mobile Analytics Report. This infographic from the study shows the percentage of users who abandon a mobile website based on the speed with which it loads:
Global mobile data traffic almost doubled in 2013 according to Cisco’s recent Traffic Forecast Update. There are a number of other mobile data traffic trends in the report, but here are five trends we wanted to highlight today: Global mobile data traffic grew 81 percent in 2013. Global mobile data traffic reached 1.5 exabytes per month at the end of 2013, up from 820 petabytes per month at the end of 2012.
Children’s mobile media use has doubled and in some cases tripled in the last two years, according an eSchool News report of a study by Common Sense Media. Here are the other key findings: Roughly twice as many children use mobile media today than in 2011. “Traditional” screen media use, such as television and video games, has decreased by more than 30 minutes per day. Children still spend most of their media time watching television, but viewing habits have changed.
Piggybacking on one of my earlier posts, People are Crazy about Mobile, I’m going to talk about “Distracted Walking.” Who among us hasn’t walked and texted or checked Facebook or Twitter on our smartphones, but have bumped into someone or something while texting on your smartphone? I know I am guilty of that. Maybe you’ve seen this viral video of a woman who, distracted by Facebook on her phone, fell into a fountain.
Smartphone adoption continues to grow exponentially. IDC recently reported smartphones accounted for 55.1% of worldwide mobile phone shipments last year. Smartphone manufacturers shipped a whopping 1.004 billion smartphones last year, up 38.4% from 2012’s shipments of 725.3 million, according to data from IDC. Worldwide, phone makers shipped more than 1.8 billion cellphones, with smart devices accounting for 55.1% of the total. During the fourth quarter, 284.4 million smartphones shipped around the world, up 24.
Let’s ponder this for a moment: Maybe you live in South Florida. Maybe the weather is warm, beautiful, sunny. Maybe you’re looking forward to a few days of boating while the rest of the country battles ice storms, snow drifts and various states of emergency. (We can dream, can’t we?) But before you venture out onto that blue paradise, you probably need a few important items to ensure smooth sailing.
Mobile first means more than just focusing on text content; it’s also includes considering visual content as important element of the user experience. The infographic from Design for Infographics highlights what happens when a visual experience doesn’t meet mobile users expectations. Here are some tips on making sure your visual content, like infographics, create good visual user experiences. 1. Infographics should tell a story. Explain the key point’s people need to consider in your graphic.
Responsive web design has been a beacon of light in the darkness of mobile strategy for many federal agencies. Many agencies have implemented it and many others are exploring this approach to Mobile Gov. There are still many other questions about responsive web design and it’s time to provide some illumination. Next Thursday, February 6, we are providing an opportunity for agencies to talk about these questions. At our Responsive Web Design Workshop: Why, How and What’s Next?
While composing email on mobile phones is still a tricky feat, email reading is quickly shifting away from the desktop. According to data from the US Consumer Device Preference Report: Q4 2013 from Movable Ink, way more than half of all email — a full 65 percent — is now being accessed via mobile devices in the U.S. That’s up relatively steeply from just 61 percent for the third quarter of 2013.
According to the IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark report, overall 4th quarter online sales were up 10.3% year over year. Here were some of the key drivers: • Mobile Traffic and Sales: Mobile traffic soared, accounting for nearly 35 percent of all online traffic, up 40 percent compared to the fourth quarter of 2012. • Smartphones Browse, Tablets Buy: Smartphones drove 21.3 percent of all online traffic, making it the browsing device of choice.
In September 2013, the Mobile Gov Community of Practice released user experience guidelines and recommendations for federal agencies to use in order to create good mobile user experiences. This article highlights private sector and government resources and tools to assist agencies in implementing those user experience guidelines. **Mobile User Experience Resources and Tools From the Private Sector ** There are a number of resources in the private sector for designing excellent User Experience.
This infographic from Light Reading addresses recent trends in mobile data use. We are struck by how much data was transferred via a WiFi connection vs. cellular. People are using WiFi connections way more than cellular ones. Some other quick highlights: In Q2 of 2013, 4x as much data was transferred over a WiFi connection vs. Cellular connection. Top 5 States with WiFi Bandwidth are VA, DE, NJ, MA, and NH.
We’ve written a few times about the changes that we’ve been working on for Data.gov to make it easier for users to find, understand, and use government data. Today you’ll notice even more changes to Data.gov – here’s a quick rundown of some of the main changes you’ll see, and why. Works on your mobile device The site is now responsive to the device you’re using. Pull up Data.
A recent article in Mobile Marketing Watch suggested location-based sensor fusion would be featured on a billion mobile devices in 2016. Last year Mary Meeker said in 2013 that mobile would be wearable, sharable, drivable and flyable. We’ve gathered some other projections for the future functionality of mobile devices; • Indoor Positioning (IPS) or Location-based Sensor Fusion – This is the projection from ABI. In a few years, you won’t need to locate a facility map to find out where you are.
Feeling the need for [more] speed? Well, so is the mobile team at the Federal Communications Commission. As part of the agency’s Measuring Broadband America Program, the FCC is looking to the crowd (that means you!) to help them assess America’s mobile broadband performance on a national scale. Their hope is to use the data they collect anonymously through their new FCC Speed Test app—Android-only for now—to create a detailed picture that could improve both the cellular and WIFI speeds you experience on your mobile device.
Today we want to tell you about the federal agency trends we saw this year in the development of public facing mobile products. Digital Government Strategy drove Mobile Gov Development Digital Government Strategy milestone 7.2 required agencies to implement two public facing mobile products in May. The White House highlighted these agency mobile product implementations. Responsive Design Proliferated. During the summer and fall a number of agencies like the Department of State, Department of Commerce, Department of Energy, USA.
Here’s the latest news from the people are “crazy about mobile” beat. Do you remember the last time your phone was not within earshot? Well, according to this infographic from Fast Company, 25% of smartphone owners ages 18-44 surveyed said they couldn’t remember the last time their smartphone was not within ear shot. There are a couple of significant facts from those who CAN remember; Almost half of people surveyed, said it had been an hour or less since they last had their phone nearby.
Mobile shopping increased significantly this year for both Black Friday and Cyber Monday. But by how much? A lot says this report from IBM: Online Sales Set New Record: Thanksgiving Day online sales grew by 19.7 percent year-over-year followed by Black Friday, with sales increasing 19 percent over 2012. Average order value for Black Friday was $135.27, up 2.2 percent year-over-year. Top Five Cities for Online Shopping: New York City took the top spot for online sales on Black Friday.
We’ve reported before that playing games is one of the most popular activities on mobile devices. A recent study by App Annie and IDC dives deeper into the traits and use habits of mobile gamers. For the most part, gamers tend to like tablet gaming experiences. Specifically, Nearly half of iOS game players preferred the iPad, with the rest split fairly evenly between the iPhone and iPod Touch.
America has always been a nation on the move. Whether you are looking for a career change or a new neighborhood to call home, life decisions affect each of us every day. With roughly half of Americans now owning smartphones, everyone should be able to access the wealth of statistics the Census Bureau collects to make informed decisions on the go, whether at home or on the road.
Cyber Monday, billed as one of the busiest online-commerce days of the year, is spilling into the rest of the holiday season as more consumers use mobile devices to shop whenever they please. Shoppers are no longer waiting to return to work on the Monday after Thanksgiving to surf and complete web deals. Consumers armed with tablets and smartphones are stretching the Cyber-Monday sales over a longer period according to Bloomberg.
As covered in the Mobile Product Testing Guidelines article, there are various approaches to mobile testing. This article is a resource of the Federal CrowdSource Mobile Testing Program and focuses on two common test types are compatibility testing and functional testing. Compatibility Testing The Wikipedia article on compatibility testing states the “Compatibility testing, part of software non-functional tests, is testing conducted on the application to evaluate the application’s compatibility with the computing environment.
Last week, Gartner reported that global smartphone shipments have achieved their highest share ever recorded. Worldwide mobile phone sales totaled 455.6 million units in the third quarter of 2013, an increase of 5.7 percent from the same period last year. The real bread and butter came in the smartphone product category. According to Gartner, sales of smartphones accounted for 55 percent of overall mobile phone sales in the third quarter of 2013, and “reached their highest share to date.
“The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and the lightning bug.” — Mark Twain It’s simple—you’re the technical expert; you know the topic inside out, so of course you can easily explain it to a captive audience. Right? Not always. Communicators in every industry know that message development matters. External audiences, internal audiences and stakeholders of all kinds need clear information about your services, benefits and products.
Recently, Mobile Marketing Watch published Sprint’s interesting infographic showing how executives use their mobile devices. “Would you trade your latte or morning cup of coffee for your mobile phone?” Sprint asked business professional executives. According to the results of their survey, turns out business professionals would rather have their smartphones than their coffee. Mobile devices are becoming more essential in how people get work done and stay connected. With high speed mobile networks available, it is now more possible to download large files and connect to the web, all while mobile.
More users are now accessing social media via mobile than on desktops. People are checking email or using social networks during their commute, in line at the grocery store, or waiting at the doctor’s office. MarketingResearch.org recently covered the topic and UnifiedSocial created the infographic in the post (click it to get full version) around trends in social and mobile. Here are some key stats: Mobile users are nearly twice as likely to share content on social networks as desktop users Global shipments of tablets will eclipse PCs in 2015 78% of US Facebook users access via mobile at least once a month 60% of Twitter users access via mobile at least once a month Mobile users are 66% more likely to retweet content than web users.
Like a kid in a candy store… Every time we go to the mall, the kids pull us to the candy store with the floor-to-ceiling tubes of colored candy. The kids quickly grab their bags and scavenge from each of the bins until their bags fill up. They usually don’t even get to the second aisle of candy. As testers, we do the same thing with new technology, gadgets, and new devices as kids in a candy store.
A report by the PEW Research Center, 12 trends for shaping digital news, looks at how the internet and digital devices are changing news consumption habits. While half of all Americans still prefer to get their news from television and print, younger Americans cite the Internet as their main source for national and international news. Findings from the report include: 50% of the public now cites the internet as a main source for national and international news 71% of those 18-29 cite the internet as a main news source 19% of Americans saw news on a social network “yesterday” in 2012 64% of tablet owners and 62% of smartphone owners said they got news on their devices in 2012 31% of tablet news users said that they spent more time with news since getting their device, and 34% of the Twitter discourse about Hurricane Sandy was news and information The report also cites ‘grazing’ the news has become more popular with younger adults and online readers who get their news when they want on mobile devices compared to older adults who get their news at regular times.
Mobile First is the idea that web sites should first be designed for mobile devices, including only those tasks/items that website visitors use most. Then as screen real estate increases, add in tasks/features as needed based on user priority. This means the site will work (to some degree) on that shiny new web-enabled gizmo sitting under your neighbor’s Christmas tree 4 years from now. Allows websites to reach more people (77% of the world’s population has a mobile device, 85% of phones sold in 2011 equipped with browser) Forces designers to focus on core content and functionality (What do you do when you lose 80% of your screen real estate?
On Feb. 15, 2013, a meteor weighing 10,000 metric tons exploded 14 miles above Chelyabinsk, Russia. Users flocked to NASA.gov for info, and we spiked to nearly 12 million page views that day, ~16 times the daily average. Our real-time analytics showed over 300,000 active visitors on the site at peak, about 100 times more than normal traffic. And, not surprisingly, we could see a huge chunk of this traffic was coming from Russia.
From the time they can grasp an object in their hands, children are reaching for electronic gadgets of all kinds—particularly our smartphones and tablets. The early adoption of mobile is growing each year as evidenced by this infographic from EveryDayFamily.com. 30 percent of 2- to 5-year-olds in the U.S. already know how to operate a smartphone or tablet computer 61 percent can play a basic computer game.
There has been a shift in consumer behavior during the last few years, a move toward immediacy and convenience, and with the responsive redesign of USA.gov and GobiernoUSA.gov, consumers can now have access to the same information and services when they need them, and on any platform and device. The number of mobile users is growing rapidly. In 2012 USA.gov and GobiernoUSA.gov received more than 2.5 million visits from mobile devices, not including tablets.
A study conducted by Nielson for Q1 2013 reports that almost half of all mobile users use their mobile devices as second screens while watching TV on a daily basis (46% for smartphones, 43% for tablets). Over two thirds of respondents said they use their devices while watching TV multiple times a week. The study then asked these users what they were using their devices for. A majority of people responded that they use their devices for looking up general information, surfing the web, or using social media.
Digital metrics are critical for measuring, analyzing, and reporting on the effectiveness of your Web, mobile, social media, and other digital channels. Every agency should have a metrics strategy to measure performance, customer satisfaction, and engagement, and use the data to make continuous improvements to serve its customers. Part 1: Common Metrics: Guidance, Best Practices, and Tools Part 2: Reporting Requirements and Common Tools Part 3: Rationale and Framework for Common Metrics and Measures Part 4: Case Studies, Training, and Additional Resources Part 1: Common Metrics—Guidance, Best Practices, and Tools Agencies should ensure that they collect, analyze, and report on a minimum baseline set of performance and customer satisfaction measures.
ComScore recently released key trends in the United States’ smartphone industry for three months (February-May) with Apple ranked as the top smartphone manufacturer and Android as the top smartphone platform. During the three months, 141 million people owned smartphones. Top Smartphone Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) Apple – 39.2% Samsung – 23.0% HTC – 8.7% Motorola – 7.8% LG – 6.7% Top Smartphone Platforms Android – 52.4% Apple – 39.
Jackie Rov of tmgmedia points out that with more than a billion smartphones in consumer’s pockets, it’s more important than ever for brands to adapt their strategy to mobile trends. To engage with consumers in the mobile era, we must understand the shift in consumer behavior – that immediacy and convenience fuel consumer actions. To help us, Rov has selected 10 mobile trends from Forrester’s 2013 Mobile Trends for Marketers report which all brands should embrace:
YouTube recently upgraded to the new One Channel design. The new design emphasizes responsive layouts for mobile devices, tablets, desktops and laptops, and TVs. A single banner on a white background replaces a customizable background and color scheme. YouTube recommends using a single 2560 x 1440 px image that fits its template. The featured video has been replaced by a Channel trailer for non-subscribers. Think of it as a short video that welcomes people to your Channel and tells them what it is about and why they should subscribe.
It used to be when we said mobile we meant activities and devices defined strictly by mobility and the features associated with it, such as GPS, SMS, barcode readers, cell phones, etc. But when I found myself in my easy chair watching a ballgame on my laptop because it was closer than the TV, while checking other scores on my smartphone, mobility had little to do with it. If anything, I was the anti-mobile user.
The Apple iTunes App store is the only marketplace for downloading apps for the Apple platform. In order to put apps in the iTunes store, agencies or their contractors have signed agreements with Apple to use Apple Software to produce mobile apps that can later be distributed to the public, free of charge. The information included in this article is based on the experiences provided by members of the MobileGov Community of Practice.
Functionality testing verifies that the functions of a product or service is working as intended. Each function is tested by providing appropriate input, verifying the output and comparing the actual results with the expected results. Usability testing measures the ease of use and intuitiveness of a product or service by asking users to perform a task and observing what they do, where they succeed and where they have difficulties.
Anytime, Anywhere, Any Device. The 21st century imperative to deliver government information and services to the public anytime, anywhere and on any device makes mobile a critical tactic in the federal Digital Government Strategy. Today, GSA’s Digital Services Innovation Center and the Federal CIO Council launch the Mobile Application Development Program to provide agencies with tools they need to make great mobile products available to the public. The program–developed with and by 25 agencies across government–will help agencies in each stage of mobile development.
Federal agencies have a new resource to help them make content and services available anytime, anywhere, and from any device–the federal Mobile Code Catalog sponsored by the Digital Services Innovation Center. This catalog is hosted on GitHub (more on why that matters in a moment). Here, agency developers looking to jump-start their efforts can find source code for native and web projects from a variety of sources: federal agencies, other governments, and third-parties in the private sector.
Mobile is a fast moving technology leaving many agencies feeling behind the contracting eight-ball. Between finding those rockstar mobile developers, figuring out what to ask for in a statement of work (SOW), the time it takes getting a contract to get those expert resources, agencies are challenged in making anytime, anywhere mobile gov. We have some relief. We have been working with several agencies to create model mobile SOW templates to use in a new program designed to streamline the acquisitions process for some technology services–like mobile development.
Gamification is the practice of using game technology or design principles for something that is not inherently game-like. Some examples include: bronze, silver, and gold badges for reading a set number of books, progress bars in online surveys, leader boards for top grades on an exam, or rewards for attending in-person events. As gamification projects are becoming increasing common in the government, here are some basic principles and policies to help program managers and project directors make informed decisions around this popular technique.
Federal agency mobile implementation is an important aspect of the Digital Government Strategy, so last week the Mobile Gov team and Digital Gov University partnered for a “Mobile First” Webinar. A “mobile first” approach is where new websites and applications are designed for mobile devices first, instead of designed for the traditional desktop. Representatives from government and the private sector spoke about what it means to be “mobile first.” You can view the entire webinar below, but here are some highlights:
_ Mobile Gov Experiences are agency stories about creating anytime, anywhere, any device government services and info. This entry is a story shared by Bureau of Indian Affairs.__ _ The Bureau of Indian Affairs held three separate Wikithons in three different locations to help improve and build upon their Wiki pages. Why We Did It The goal of these was to promote creation of employee profiles on our Wiki and to get people started on writing articles.
The Mobile Platform Development Series was developed to help government agencies learn how to deliver government content–information, data and services–anytime, anywhere and on any device. One way to deliver content to citizens is via applications on mobile devices or native mobile apps. Government agencies need technical expertise on developing apps on the various platforms. Today we bring you a recap of the Blackberry webinar from this series. The Blackberry webinar featured Richard Balsewich who provides application development guidance and technical architecture expertise for RIM/Blackberry.
When agency folks gather together to talk about mobile gov, the number one question asked is, “Should we do a mobile app or a mobile web site?” To help people with that question, we became fight promoters and sponsored THE BATTLE OF THE CENTURY!! Mobile Web Vs. Mobile Apps Two champions debated this hot topic: Neil Bonner, from the Transportation Security Administration, is a proponent of mobile websites.
Making Mobile Gov was a three phase multi-media project created by the MobileGov Community of Practice to help federal agencies discover, discuss and design a citizen-centric path to mobile government services and information. Held during the summer 2011, this project served three strategic goals: Educate—provide resources for mobile evangelists to help inform decision makers on (1) the criticality of investing in mobile gov to provide public services and (2) the opportunities in leveraging cross-agency strategies.