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.gov, Food and Drug Administration, and HUD’s Office of the Inspector General implemented responsively designed websites.
Native Apps Still Important — Agencies did not abandon native development. A number of agencies took advantage of native mobile device functionality including U.S. Census’ Dwellr, NOAA’s Whale Alert, Dolphin & Whale 911, and See & ID Dolphins & Whales, U.S. Coast Guard’s HSWL App, and National Park Service’s NPS Chesapeake Explorer App.
Upgrades and Makeovers for Existing Mobile Products — FEMA added a disaster reporter feature to the FEMA App, the Center’s for Disease Control added new outbreaks to their Solve the Outbreak app and the U.S. Census added new economic indicators to the America’s Economy app. The Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory created an iOS app version of the alternative fuel locator mobile website and the National Gallery of Art added an Android version of their Your Art app.
APIs and Code Sharing Continued to Expand — While the Digital Government Strategy required development of API’s as well as mobile products, some agencies took bigger steps to make it easier for developers to access government code.
- As part of their Digital Government Strategy mobile implementation, the Department of Labor mobilized their developer website for anytime, anywhere access to their API’s. Labor also developed an agency wide software development kit (SDK) that makes agency API’s more easily accessible for mobile development.
- Like they did with the America’s Economy app last year, the U.S. Census Bureau released their new app Dwellr with API documentation that allows users to create their own app using Census data.
- A number of agencies ran mobile related challenges at Challenge.gov, including ones for mobile product ideas, app development and even the mobilization of their data.
Cross Agency Sharing Multiplied. There was an influx of cross agency sharing of mobile development practices, tools and solutions. In conjunction with the Federal CIO Council, we developed the Mobile Application Development Program. To help us create the program, agencies in the MobileGov Community of Practice shared
- Procurement documents to create sample mobile Statements of Work (SOWs)
- Mobile testing tools, practices, scripts, and time to actually help agencies test mobile products
- User Experience Guidelines and Recommendations
- Mobile code on the Mobile Code Catalog for other agencies to leverage
What to Expect in 2014. As we gaze into our Mobile Gov crystal ball for 2014, we see
- More Agency Sharing. Like they did for Mobile User Experience Guidelines and Recommendations, the Mobile Gov Community of Practice will continue to gather agencies together to build government-wide expertise in mobile. Expect events around responsive design, native development and other mobile areas soon.
- Increased Focus on User Experience. Agencies are placing more importance on usability and user experience as they build and update mobile products. The advanced ones will be heavily engaging with their users to accomplish it.
- Emphasis on Code Sharing. Agencies will continue to increase their code sharing for development and reuse. The U.S. Census Bureau approach will be a model for a lot of agencies and more agencies will leverage the agency wide API SDK from Labor.
- Focus on Data Structures and Content Models. Agencies will continue to rethink their data structures and create new content models for the proliferation of wearables, sharables, flyables and drivables we will see in 2014 and beyond.
What trends did you see in Mobile Gov for 2013 and what do you see happening in 2014? Let us know in the comments.
Update: Be sure to check out the Best of Social Media in 2013 and Beyond.
Happy New Year!