Blogs are beneficial between citizen and government but wiki’s are great for use within government agencies to share information. Sadly, govdex isn’t a great example as in the real world every damn vain agency wants information within their own branding. Provide that option and govdex usage will increase within government.
More importantly though, start a wiki for government agency web teams to share templates, graphics, CSS, accessible versions of jquery etc. To encourage re-use of code and save time.
I forgot to mention, also measure the return on investment. So many focus on the graphics and after spending thousands of dollars haven’t even tested users nor measured the success (or lack of) a website.
Before government can tackle web 2 responsively I feel the following needs to happen.
1. All of government including government business enterprises and statuary authorities need to take on more accountability for their websites in terms of accessibility and usability.
2. Someone more important than the agencies own web team should go speak with every government agency and tell them they must comply or they’ll be publicly shamed or pay a penalty.
3. Government agencies need to have competent people and access to the right resources. Some agencies have huge web teams while others have one person. This doesn’t mean they don’t have the money…
4. Usability testing should be mandatory at least twice a year and a usability test team should be made available for government agencies, including users with disabilities. This should include testing web 2 technologies.
5. Every government agency needs to remember why citizens come to their website. Usually, it’d be to access a service or obtain information.Web 2 technologies such as online chat can be useful for providing technical support as used by e-commerce websites. What I’m trying to say here is use the right web 2 technology for a useful purpose rather than for the sake of it or because it feeds the agencies ego instead of focusing on user needs.
6. Fear needs to end. If a user makes a negative comment, learn from why they are being negative and fix the problem and realize it can be an opportunity to provide re-assurance to others.
7. Government shouldn’t charge other agencies for re-using information or code. In fact, it should be encouraged. As for security issues, if something happens – just deal with it!
8. Vanity needs to end. When the Nation Building stimulus package was released, government did the right thing by putting a website together and getting agencies to link to it. However, I’d say many agencies did the wrong thing by confusing users and wasting time – instead of getting all the info they need off one site which covers what all aspects of government is doing, they had to go on an ego trip and put their own resources together just because they might impress some minister.
9. Government should allow non-government website owners to utilize web 2 technologies to bring in data from government websites.
10. Government should provide a number of templates and resources for agencies to use such as menus / navigation, photo galleries – which expands as new trends and better practice approaches are discovered. This would be helpful for agencies with little web resources. Identifying talented individuals from agencies and getting them to blog on techniques would be useful.
11. Be prepared to adapt. Trial different approaches on websites and learn what works well.