What practices, policies, and principles should guide the federal web in the next 5 years?

Policies and Principles

Link website design & organizational/operational infrastructure

Government websites should help the government accomplish its strategic objectives--and help citizens and residents participate in and make use of their government. Often what gets in the way is internal government processes & protocols: contracting processes that separate the design of a website from its development, or cultural barriers that dictate unnecessary constraints from the onset, for instance. These things ...more »

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Policies and Principles

Use specialists to build your web content

Writing, organizing, and structuring an agency or department's web content takes specialized skills that the guy in the end cube with spare time likely doesn't have. Agencies need to dedicate resources with the right skills—writing, customer service, UX—to build, maintain, and manage web content. It's a full-time, ongoing job for an entire team to keep an agency's content current and accessible.

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Policies and Principles

Online public voting on policies and bills before they go to Con

Create a VOTE NOW. GOV site (and make it known to US population) so that The People can vote on anything going to congress for approval, or not. Congress is holding up valuable changes because of personal issues. This country is made up of more then congressmen and Senators. Whether Republican or Democrat, Black AND/or White, the people of this country have a RIGHT to SPEAK and BE HEARD! on ANYTHING that is proposed in ...more »

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Policies and Principles

Go from Complete Redesigns to Incremental Continuous Change

We should be using models of incremental, metrics based continuous change on Federal sites, and getting rid of the whole concept that we need complete and utter redesigns every so many years.

Build on the good that your site does, and continually improve, improve, improve... in 3 years your site won't look like it does today, and it will be better.

A complete redesign just guarantees change, not improvement.

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Policies and Principles

Go big or go home!

Web managers may walk away from this discussion with the intention of applying one or two of these suggestions to an existing site design. Those web managers will just be wasting time. The way forward is an extensive review of your users needs and your agency's mission, and the primary way you organize the existing and future data and applications presented on your site. Anything less is just nibbling at the edges, ...more »

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Policies and Principles

Create cross agency checklists for citizen interactions

Based upon various web metrics and/or common citizen interactions... certain agency (or cooperate across agency) sites could create these lists. This could be more like creating a cross agency "check list" (with links) that would help citizens perform specific tasks- People could follow the steps by clicking the links and get their task done.... Example, A new citizen wants to get a passport and register to vote... ...more »

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Policies and Principles

Basic training on intellectual property and web do's and don'ts

Citizens and Government could benefit from some basic training about intellectual property (IP);i.e., copyrights, trademarks, patents, trade secrets. What policies and laws define them; what distinguishes them from each other; what';s the duration of protection; when could more than one type of protection apply ; what does and doesn't apply to government produced vs. government commissioned stuff; the effect on government ...more »

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Policies and Principles

Online ombudsman

Citizens who are aggrieved with confusing and convoluted websites need a central POC where they can go to have someone resolve the problem for them and future users. Everyday citizens can't be expected to understand the processes or pathways needed to reach the right people in specific agencies.

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Policies and Principles

Conceptual Model of a governance website

We don't have a coherent conceptual model of a governance website. Our websites display information that can be updated in realtime, and accept input from every individual user. Currently, however, websites are being built and run as "smart kiosks" capable of limited two-way interaction and dispensing. But the design philosophy behind what is shown, what is engaged, is based on all previous media being digitized ...more »

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Policies and Principles

Allow people to submit ideas to be posted for peace making.

We need to move toward peace and to allow people a voice to have their ideas expressed on how to achieve peace. We need to celebrate The International Global Truce Peace One Day, Peace Day 9/21 of each year and acknowledge it on the USA.gov website. Add Peace to the list of drop-down choices of topics we can pick when we list the subject of our communication with government officials

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Policies and Principles

Take a Closer Look at Priorities

I've seen a lot of discussion about top tasks, and I think the guidance for top tasks frequently is terrible. If all we do for top tasks is study our current users, we're missing the boat. It seems a lot of the government representatives on this dialogue think SERVICES are the most important thing. Well, we have evidence (and you can argue with the methodology) that this may not be the case. Remember the Socrata Open ...more »

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Policies and Principles

Establish Standard Information Required on Websites

Agencies are disclosing lots of information online, but it's very inconsistent between agencies. There should be a minimum baseline of information that all agencies must consistently post on their websites – a transparency floor. The current OMB guidance establishes a few categories of information to be disclosed by each agency, but the categories need to be significantly updated and expanded. The new list of categories ...more »

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Policies and Principles

Captions on all audiovisual materials!

Agency websites are required to provide captions with streaming audiovisual content. Section 508, requires that multimedia presentations provide a transcript that is audio synchronized to the presentation. See §§ 1194.22 (a) and (b) of Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act. This should be standard protocol for all video content appearing on federal websites.

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Policies and Principles

Follow Federal Laws, Policies and Regulations Uniformly

Being a internet-based a reform initiative should not give the right to bypass policies that apply to other input mechanisms. For example, comments on Federal regulations are solicited through the Federal Register, providing for ways to submit input without providing PII. This site requires an individual's email address before allowing any input, had no Federal Register notice, and assumes that all individuals with ...more »

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Policies and Principles

Design for Dignity

I think Richard Buchanan's expertise in design is relevant throughout. Just one of the many gems: "Human-centered design is fundamentally an affirmation of human dignity. It is an ongoing search for what can be done to support and strengthen the dignity of human beings as they act out their lives in varied social, economic, political, and cultural circumstances." (Design Issues: Volume 17, No 3 Summer 2001 p.37 ...more »

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