About the Dialogue

What is the National Dialogue on Improving Federal Websites?

The National Dialogue for Improving Federal Websites is sponsored by the White House and the U.S. General Services Administration. The dialogue is a critical part of the .gov Reform Initiative that was launched in June 2011, to streamline how we manage federal websites and provide a better customer experience when people access government information and services online. It’s an opportunity to bring web experts, policymakers, and citizens together to submit and vote on ideas for improving federal websites.

Using an online “ideation” tool, the Dialogue will bring together a community of stakeholders who are geographically dispersed and difficult to convene in one place. Participants will be able to share their first hand knowledge and ideas with the federal government, as well as each other.

During phase I we allowed registrants to submit ideas on any of the campaigns, and we also hosted one hour dialogue-a-thons with our discussion catalysts on each campaign. These were targeted real-time discussions on each topic. During phase II we want feedback on the Federal Web Strategy.

What topics will be addressed?

We’re asking stakeholders to contribute their thoughts on the ideals we want to see in the federal web space of the future, the biggest challenges in implementing the strategy, and ideas for addressing those challenges.

How long will the Dialogue be open?

The Dialogue will be open 24/7 for two weeks. Because the discussion will develop over the course of this period, we encourage participants to return to the site several times to see what new ideas and discussions have been taking place.

How will the input from the Dialogue be used?

The Dialogue will help strengthen the Federal Web Strategy. The Task Force will review the ideas and consider them as they finalize the Web Strategy and make recommendations for streamlining federal websites, strengthening federal web policy, and improving the citizen’s experience with government websites.

Who’s participating?

Anyone can register for the dialogue. It is open to anyone who is interested. We’re targeting specific communities for their involvement, to ensure we get a broad and diverse set of ideas. The communities include, but are not limited to:

● User Experience professionals

● Designers

● Web privacy groups

● Search and analytics experts

● Librarians and knowledge management experts

● Researchers, reporters, journalists, and bloggers

● Universities and educators

● Government IT, web and new media staff

● Public sector innovators

● Social media strategists

● Public relations specialists

● Official organizations with responsibility for the Internet (W3C, ICANN, etc.)

● Accessibility experts and agency Section508 Coordinators

● Experts in multilingual and multicultural content

Can anyone in the general public see or use this forum?

Yes. The website is public. Users will be able to see all ideas and comments in the dialog. However, before users can submit any ideas, comments, or votes, they must create an account on the site.

How does the Dialogue platform work?

The Dialogue platform permits participants to do the following:

● Submit an Idea- Participants can submit their own ideas to the discussion by clicking the "Submit an Idea" button, which allows participants to explain their idea and its importance. These ideas can then be rated and tagged by others.

● Comment on Others' Ideas- Users can comment on others' ideas to more fully flesh out ideas and debate topics. Commenting is an important function and can help drive substantive discussion of emerging ideas.

● Rate Ideas- Users can rate an idea up or down, similar to rating functions on other websites. Over the course of the Dialogue, with many participants rating a lot of ideas, we will be able to assess ideas that resonate the most with Dialogue participants. This, in turn, helps us identify novel ideas, important best practices, and relative priorities.

● Tag Ideas- Participants can apply topic tags to their own submissions and the submissions of others. Tags are usually one or two-word phrases describing an idea's subject matter. Tags help participants find interesting and relevant ideas, and to search for all ideas that deal with that topic. Topic tags also make it possible to discern what broad themes and topics are being raised most frequently during the Dialogue. This happens primarily through the tag cloud, which displays a list of all topic tags; those used more frequently are displayed in a larger font.

Will my personal info be protected? Can other users find out who I am?

Participation in the Dialogue is anonymous, and users will not be identified by their ideas and comments unless users choose to use their real names as their username. When users register, they create a custom username that can be as anonymous as they would like (e.g. FunnyWoman123). Although registration does require users to submit an email address and answer a few demographic questions, this information will not be visible to any other user on the site.

If you are someone who has expertise in a particular area of web management, consider using your real name as your username, to add credibility to your ideas and comments.

Read more in our Terms of participation.

Will this dialogue be monitored to ensure no one is posting anything offensive or off topic?

GSA will moderate the Dialogue continuously according to the Moderation policy posted on the site . Posts made to the site are done in real time (i.e. comments will be posted without prior moderator approval); however, any post that violates the terms of our Moderation Policy will be removed. We have employed a profanity filter to automatically screen out any posts that contain profanity.

In addition, all users will be able to easily "flag" other ideas and comments to the attention of the moderator that they feel are in violation of the moderation policy.

Will the discussion be archived?

Yes, the discussion will be archived by GSA.

Who can I contact with additional questions?

For questions or assistance, contact Alycia Piazza