What Makes a Native App Successful? There are over 200 native applications in the federal government with various download numbers. Are the ones with the most downloads the most successful? Is the one with fewer users who are more engaged more successful? It depends on what you are trying to accomplish. David Cooper, the Mobile Application Development Lead with the National Center for Telehealth and Technology (T2) and member of the MobileGov Community of Practice, said during a recent DigitalGov University (DGU) webinar, that while vanity metrics such as page views for websites and downloads for apps make you feel good, they don’t tell you anything about how users like your app or site.
This tax season, it’s not just taxpayers expecting a refund who can take advantage of IRS2Go, the IRS’ mobile app, but now taxpayers who owe money are able to make payments through the app. IRS2Go offered for Amazon, Android and iOS is one of the oldest and arguably most popular government apps with over five million downloads on the Android platform alone. Every year IRS reviews user feedback and decides what new features to add.
We have received an amazing response to the U.S. Digital Registry, our new API-generating repository for official third-party sites, social media platforms and mobile apps in the United States federal government. Federal digital managers have already added over 7,300 accounts and are continuously adding and updating social media and mobile app accounts in the registry. Outside of government, private and public sector organizations have been submitting feedback and offering praise.
Agencies have used an open data competition approach in their quest to provide anytime, anywhere government. For example, in 2011, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) conducted the Apps for the Environment challenge and has a hub for apps created using EPA data. Here’s an update on challenges hosted by other agencies: The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), hosted a nationwide Reference Data Challenge to create mobile apps through Devpost.
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!
Someone has a problem they are trying to solve. They pull out their mobile device and find a solution. They move onto something else. That’s a mobile moment. Organizations are living and dying by their mobile moments, and a few government agencies are winning theirs. We’ve written before how the Transportation Security Administration is winning their “What Can I Bring…” moment at airports while taxpayers are engaing around the IRS2Go “Where’s My Refund?
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.
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) wants YOU to help them build native apps. NIST launched the Reference Data Challenge to improve the way the agency shares scientific reference data. They want third party developers from around the country to build native apps that aggregate and improve the usability of free NIST datasets and resources. They are offering $45,000 in prize money and are taking submissions until the end of September.
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.
Federal agencies do not get a free pass on accessibility for mobile—as we stated earlier this month, Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act applies to ALL information and communication technology (ICT). Luckily, there are a number of organizations working on guidelines and practices to help the private and public sectors create accessible mobile websites and applications. The M-Enabling Conference, an annual event dedicated to making mobile technology accessible, brought experts from around the world to talk about guidelines and practices for these efforts.
The rise in mobile device usage has created a rise in expectations: the public wants new and innovative interactions with all organizations, including government. Incorporating social media in mobile websites and native apps is one way federal agencies have increased public interaction. Six agencies have leveraged native app functionality for crowdsourcing purposes. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) leads the way with three public-facing applications that transform ordinary citizens into citizen scientists: Dolphin and Whale 911, Release Mako and CrowdMag.
Mobile-friendliness is a must for government. But mobilizing the whole digital enchilada takes time due to various challenges, as experiences from the Department of Education and National Park Service have illustrated. Many agencies are thinking big things for 2015, but if your agency is struggling with that first mobile implementation, you will be asking yourself where to start. Think mobile moments! The mobile moments concept has been popularized by Forrester analysts Julie Ask and Ted Schadler.
The DigitalGov platform helps federal agencies meet 21st century digital expectations, and we’ve planned our second DigitalGov Summit with this mission and your needs in mind. The theme is open and the agenda is packed with presentations about how “opening” data, content, contracts and talent makes digital citizen services better, more effective and even cheaper. Attending Virtually For our Summit this Thursday, we have an amazing line up of speakers and YOU can still sign-up to attend.
“The customer is king.” “The customer is always right.” Regardless of your feelings on these age-old customer service adages, the fact remains: we’re all serving someone. No matter what corner of the federal digital space you occupy, you are connecting with people, and the outcome of those connections matters. To recognize the importance of these relationships, DigitalGov is focusing on customer service as our May monthly theme. There are numerous ways to look at the customer experience and many digital professionals may ask themselves, how is it different from user experience?
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.
Data and code are the foundation, building blocks, and cornerstone of government digital services. They are the keys that open the door to a better digital government future and are fundamental in making government more open. No matter who you are or where you work in the federal space, data and code enable your projects to meet real needs. This month we’re featuring articles around the theme of data and code.
Mobile user habits are a moving target, and designers have to adjust accordingly. Creative Bloq offers their Top 5 Trends in App Design for 2015 gathered from trends in changing hardware, increasing popularity of apps and the increasingly personal nature of mobile devices. Bigger Screen Sizes. As we noted in last week’s Trends on Tuesday post, the smartphone sales increase in 2014 was partially due to the growing numbers of “phablet-sized” smartphones.
Smartphone adoption rate continues to rise, but the screen sizes users adopt continue to evolve. According to preliminary data from the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, smartphone vendors shipped a total of 375.2 million units during the fourth quarter of 2014. IDC states that this was an increase of more than 25%, compared to the fourth quarter in 2013. For the full year, IDC says the worldwide smartphone market saw a total of 1.
Innovative wearables, stronger wifi and more 3D printing have been among the many projections for the future of mobile in 2015. Whatever comes to pass, we can be certain that the anytime, anywhere user will develop new habits and desires based on new trends. Government must accelerate its customer service approach with anytime, anywhere efforts to keep up. Here’s what I see agencies will have to do to keep up and–just maybe get ahead–in 2015.
Approximately 18% of websites have implemented Responsive Web Design, according to the audit of websites Guy Podjarny completed in November. That’s more than 7% growth since his previous audit in January 2014. That number may seem low with the popularity of Responsive Web Design and the preference of mobile websites from users, but implementing responsive Web design is not as easy at it seems. In a report last year, Forrester found that “few organizations have the budget or risk appetite to ‘responsify’ all of their Web assets in one fell swoop.
Phablets, the popular term for smartphones with screen sizes from 5.5 to less than 7 inches, increased in popularity this holiday season. According to Flurry, 13% of new device activations in December were phablets, jumping from 4% in 2013. Back in October, the International Data Corporation (IDC) predicted that “phablets” would outship tablets in 2015. Flurry backs up the IDC report finding that the holiday growth in phablet adoption came at the expense of both full-size and small tablets, whose activation percentages dropped to 11%.
QR codes, apps about whales, bullying and railroad crossings, challenges of responsive Web design and mobilizing charts and tables were the things you were most interested in this year. We publish mobile trends every Tuesday and feature a government mobile app every Thursday on the mobile channel of DigitalGov. In addition, we do recaps of MobileGov Community of Practice events and other community articles in between. This year we published 281 articles.
Mobile devices allow the public to interact with government in new and game-changing ways and users expect those interactions. As a result, many agencies are taking advantage of native apps for crowdsourcing projects. The White House Open Government Initiative recently defined crowdsourcing “as a process in which individuals or organizations submit an open call for voluntary contributions from a large group of unknown individuals (“the crowd”)…” In addition, they highlighted some native applications like the Federal Communications Commission Speed Test App and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s mPing as good practices in mobile crowdsourcing.
Smartphones are changing how organizations do business—they are more than just smart Web browsers. As I noted last week, purchases from mobile phones have dramatically increased during the holiday shopping season. The infographic from IfByPhone demonstrates how people are using their smartphones not only to buy things and research products, but also to open emails and access social media. Users also still call organizations on the go. 87% of smartphone and tablet owners use their devices to shop.
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.
Were you surfing the pre-Black Friday online sales while waiting for the Thanksgiving turkey to appear on the table? Turns out, you weren’t alone. “Online sales for Thanksgiving 2014 grew 12.2%, with mobile sales accounting for 74% of that traffic,” according to Mobile Marketing Watch. To put that in context, mobile sales grew 26.1% percent over 2013. Whether it’s Thanksgiving, Black Friday or Cyber Monday, mobile is playing an ever increasing role in holiday shopping.
In the mobile world, every second matters. Mobile users are a finicky bunch. They want their information anytime, anywhere and quickly. As members of the MobileGov Community of Practice have noted last year, mobile user experience is about emotion. If that emotion is not happy, you will lose the user. For this month’s DigitalGov user experience theme, we decided to talk about how speed can be a key to a user’s happiness.
Is it a phone or is it a tablet? The International Data Corporation (IDC) predicts that “phablets,” the popular term for smartphones with screen sizes from 5.5 to less than 7 inches, will outship portable PCs this year and tablets in 2015. Specifically, total phablet volume will top 318 million units, surpassing the 233 million tablets forecast to ship in 2015. Further, IDC expects phablets to grow from 14.0% of the worldwide smartphone market in 2014 to 32.
No Mobile Gov Month on DigitalGov would be complete without an update on the Internet of Things. Regardless if you’re talking wearables, smart homes, sensors or any other connected device, your current mobile approaches will be impacted—as will your social media, user experience and data strategies. When we last visited the topic in April, discussion in the federal government was minimal. That’s no longer the case. Just this month there were multiple panels about it at the Tech-In-State: Mobile Diplomacy event and the Federal Trade Commision (FTC) was very active at the 2nd Annual Internet of Things Global Summit where FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez gave a keynote about challenges around IOT.
Thanks to the power of open data and APIs, federal agencies can now register their mobile native apps and websites on the Federal Mobile Products Registry and have them appear on the USA.gov Federal Mobile Apps Directory (formerly USA.gov Apps Gallery) almost immediately. When we launched the USA.gov Apps Gallery in 2010 there were less than 15 apps. To register an app, an agency would contact us with app info, download screenshots and create a “page” for that app.
People consume government information in a variety of ways: through agency websites, of course, but increasingly through social media, search engines, and mobile apps, whether developed by agencies or third parties. To make sure the information is available seamlessly, accurately, and consistently from one setting to another, more and more agencies are exploring the use of content models. Content models create a structure to tag content in a standardized way and free it from any single format or destination, such as a Web page or PDF file.
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.
Sign up now to join fellow MobileGov Community of Practice members for Tech@State’s Mobile Diplomacy conference on Friday, October 3, 2014! Your attendance will let you participate in a variety of panels, ignite and breakout sessions about mobile development relevant to all digital government innovators. Members of the MobileGov Community of Practice from the U.S. Census Bureau, Department of Labor, Department of Defense and other agencies will be presenting on panels like “Mobile First: Design & User Experience” and “Best Practices in the U.
Imagine open source code, publicly available to share, that jump starts your agency’s mobile development efforts. Pretty neat idea, huh? Well last year it became a reality with the Mobile Code Catalog. This idea was the brainchild of Mike Pulsifer, who, as the Technical Manager for the Division of Enterprise Communications, Office of Public Affairs, at the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), is responsible for developing and publishing the DOL website and mobile applications.
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.
You’ve just found a great open source fed agency app on the Mobile Code Sharing Catalog, and would love to use one of its cool functionalities for your own agency’s app. As federal agencies release more and more code to the open source community, this dilemma is becoming increasingly commonplace. Agencies who open-source their entire app’s code are taking an excellent first step; the next challenge is to get the really interesting and useful code reused more readily.
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.
World Cup fever, everyone’s got it—even the Broadcasting Board of Governors‘ (BBG) Voice of America has reporters covering the event. For this year’s World Cup, VOA has teamed up with the Office of Digital and Design Innovation (a digital team inside the BBG) to create two new sites: one in English and one in French. These mobile-firsts sites are light-weight, responsive and built to meet the needs of the network’s African audiences, which are increasingly turning to mobile for news and information.
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.
Smaller doesn’t mean more popular when it comes to smartphone screen size. According to mobile analyst Canalys, shipments for phones with screens larger than 5″ represented a third of total shipments worldwide in Q1 this year. Devices with a screen size larger than 5″ are more popularly known as “phablets” (not quite tablets, not quite phones). Government agencies have been implementing responsive design so their Web properties adjust to screen size.
We won’t build the government of the 21st century by drawing within the lines. We don’t have to tell you the hard work of building a digital government doesn’t exist in a vacuum or a bubble. Show us social media without mobile, Web without data and user experience without APIs. You can’t? That’s right—in reality, digital government intersects and cuts across boundaries every day in order to deliver the digital goods.
While it does provide challenges, anytime, anywhere digital government provides numerous opportunities for contact centers to do business more effectively. According to this study by Compare Business Products, one of the most important impacts for contact centers is that smartphone users can now connect with contact centers via voice calls, SMS messages, Internet pages, social media video chat and native apps. While mobile is changing user habits, the study states, “those contact centers that are able to embrace these channels and make it easy for customers to contact them through any of these at their whim will naturally be those that rise to the top of the pile and impress their customers.
Earth Day is next week, so today instead of featuring one mobile product like we do every Thursday, we’re highlighting how the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is tackling mobile to help empower citizen environmental decisions. Currently, you can access EPA’s mobile website, a number of EPA apps, and the agency has a dedicated team working on mobile product decisions. Last month, EPA reported on the status of current mobile projects.
The Internet of Things, a concept approaching reality, is best described as objects (think appliance, trees, etc.) in the world equipped with identifying devices or machine-readable identifiers that make them connected to the Web. This handy infographic charts the history and development of the idea and perhaps this washing machine could be a roadmap to the future. The fourth annual Internet of Things Dayis Wednesday, April 9th. It was created by the Internet of Things Councilto encourage interested people around the world to connect by hosting and attending meetups, hackathons, and spending time with others to help jump-start important categories of conversation and collaboration around this technology.
159.8 million people in the U.S. over the age of 13 owned smartphones during the three months ending in January, up 7 percent since October, according to ComScore. That is a 66.8 percent mobile market penetration, meaning two thirds of people in the country owned a smartphone at the beginning of this year. Comscore also finds Apple continues to sell the most devices, while Android is the top mobile platform.
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.
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:
In 25 years, imagine a world where anytime, anywhere, any device is just taken for granted. That’s the theme from the responses we got from our MobileGov Community of Practice members when we asked them to predict the effect mobile would have on the Web over the next 25 years. While no one claimed to have the exact answer, most members described a future state where the Web was pervasive, not just tied to your computer or smartphone, but interacting with anything and everything.
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.
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?
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.
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.
Earlier this year the National Gallery of Art released their “Your Art” app on iOS and now they have released an Android version. The Your Art app allows users to explore more than 130 works by artists including Leonardo da Vinci, Rembrandt van Rijn, Johannes Vermeer, and others. Along with the new Android version, the iOS version has been updated to be available in French, English, Mandarin, Russian, Japanese, and Spanish.
If your app doesn’t have a good user experience, it goes to 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. As more agencies develop mobile apps and websites, they need quick guidance on mobile user experience Do’s and Don’ts.
Does your mobile site function properly on all devices your users have? Are you able to test your mobile site on all devices that access it? Do you have the time and money to maintain a mobile test lab? We’re guessing not. Our CrowdSource Mobile Testing program is a FREE service provided for federal agencies by federal employees. We do compatibility testing (determining how mobile websites display on the multiple makes and models of devices, operating systems, and mobile browsers), for mobile websites that agencies think are mobile-friendly.
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.
The pursuit of happiness for many of us might mean a fresh new start and a new place to call home. But where? In such a large and diverse country as ours, the choices can seem endless — and overwhelming. Now, your data friendly U.S. Census Bureau has harnessed the power of its vast trove of demographic, neighborhood-specific and housing information into a new smartphone app on both Google Play and iOS called, aptly, dwellr.
Canalys, an international IT company, predicted last week that tablets will almost out-ship all other PC form factors combined next year. They expect that tablets will account for almost 50% of the total client PC market (that includes desktops, notebooks, and tablets) in 2014. PC shipments accounted for 40% of PC shipments in Q3 2013, less than half a million units behind global notebook shipments. Tablet domination is set to continue, with Canalys forecasting 285 million units to ship in 2014, growing to 396 million units in 2017.
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.
The NOAA Release Mako App was created for fisherman to report their releases of Shortfin Mako sharks while on the water. In order to offer the tool on another platform, the National Marine Fisheries Service released an iOS version of the app earlier this year. Like the Android version, it uses GPS and allows fisherman to upload photographs of their catches. NOAA says: The app uses a device’s built-in GPS, when available, to fill in exact location coordinates on the shortfin mako live release data form.
The Centers for Disease Control recently added three new outbreaks to their Solve the Outbreak app. CDC released the app earlier this year to teach users how CDC’s disease detectives save lives everyday. There are now nine outbreaks that players can solve to earn points. Since it’s Halloween, I’ll note that a zombie epidemic is not one of the outbreaks. Most Digital Gov experts might expect some zombies since CDC has a habit of using the living dead as an aid for teaching us about public health awareness.
The Pew Research Center recently released a report on “12 Trends Shaping Digital News.” Some of these trends show that mobile devices continue to affect how the public consumes the news. The report found: 19% of Americans saw news on a social network “yesterday” in 2012, more than double the 9% who had done so in 2010. 64% of tablet owners and 62% of smartphone owners said they got news on their devices in 2012.
How We Did It Last November, as part of revisiting the state of Mobile Gov, government mobile innovators identified a need for guidelines to help create amazing and engaging mobile user experiences. We convened a group to workshop around elements of mobile user experience with the goal to develop user experience practices for government. We then asked you to set priorities and help hone a set of useful, actionable user experience guidelines and recommendations that agencies could adopt.
Mobile searching has become a fact of life. According to a recent study by Econsultancy, 67% of smartphone owners had used their device to search for information in the past 7 days. The infographic below describes what they are searching for–the majority of searches are for arts, events and news. Last year Google predicted that mobile search will overtake the desktop search over the next few years as tablet and smartphone growth continue to surge, doubling every 2 years.
Looking to jumpstart your mobile website development? Check out the Web Experience Toolkit (WET) available on the Mobile Code Sharing Catalog. The toolkit includes reusable components for building and maintaining innovative Web sites that are accessible, usable, and interoperable. Developed as a collaborative open source project by the Government of Canada, the WET has reusable components that are open source software and free for use by departments and external Web communities.
You have started developing your mobile product, but you may be wondering what and how to test. As with any form of software development, mobile testing should be done intermittently throughout all development stages. This article was developed as part of the Mobile Application Development Program to provide agencies with some general testing strategies, types, tools and testing scripts. The information on these testing pages has been pulled from the Mobile Gov Community of Practice and private sector resources.
Security testing is used to ensure that a mobile product does not pose a threat to agency IT systems and databases. In addition, privacy testing ensures that an app does not put the user’s personally identifiable information into a compromisable position. This article was developed as part of the Mobile Application Development Program. See our general guidelines to testing article for more resources on mobile product testing. Government Guidance Please coordinate with your ISSO when creating mobile or digital products.
Performance testing is used to verify that an app or web page will display quickly to the user and will continue to function as the number of users increases to peak loads. Performance is an important consideration for mobile applications because the connection speed of users is often slower and more variable for mobile users than desktop users. Surveys have shown that users will often stop using applications or web sites that load slowly.
Responsive Web design refers to a fluidly constructed Web page layout that scales from handheld device displays to large, high-resolution computer displays using flexible typography, flexible images, fluid grids, and CSS3 media queries. For years, most Web teams designed for the desktop. Branding, navigation, work flows – the overall look & feel of online applications – were all considered reasonable areas to distinguish one’s online presence from others. Things have changed so dramatically over the past few years that starting with the desktop may now be the backwards way of creating a web site.
Techcrunch. com reports Mary Meeker’s much anticipated annual Internet Trends report released at the D11 Conference last week shows astounding growth regarding use of smartphones and tablets. Among the highlights; Mobile Internet users have reached 1.5 billion, up from 1.1 billion a year ago, a 30% increase The number of smartphones is up to 5 billion mobile phones worldwide Mobile usage is now 15% of all Internet traffic, up 50% from 10% the year before Tablet shipments outpaced desktop and notebook shipments 3 years after being introduced There seems to be a shift from smartphones and tablets to other types of mobile enabled devices that Meeker is calling Wearables, Drivables, Flyables and Scannables See the complete slideshare for more Government mobile strategists who pay attention to Meeker’s stats will likely stay ahead of the curve regarding the expected continuing exponential growth in mobile usage, devices and applications and keep citizens and stakeholders engaged on whatever device they use.
Anytime, anywhere government information and services are becoming more important as the public increasingly consumes information and services on the go. As we announced last week, agencies can now get assistance with their mobile development efforts with our new Mobile Application Development Program. Tomorrow, we will host a webinar and a wikithon to highlight our program that helps agencies plan, develop, test and launch anytime, anywhere, any device mobile products and services for the public.
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.
Structuring a Statement of Work (SOW) for the development or modification of mobile products should be similar to any SOW your government organization issues for IT products and services. We are providing sample SOW language for the procurement of customer/external-facing mobile products, skills, testing and mobile code sharing. This language is also included in the RFP-EZ contracting tool. Here are some guidelines for its use. The sample SOW language is offered as a starting point for agency program managers to adapt to fit their mobile procurement needs.
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.
Helping agencies plan, develop, test and launch anytime, anywhere, any device mobile products and services for the public. Plan—Build a mobile strategy, see what other agencies have done, use new acquisitions tools to find top mobile developers. Develop—Create great mobile apps and sites using mobile user experience guidelines. Jump start development by leveraging pre-existing code. Test—Make sure your app works on all devices by leveraging automated and in the wild testing support.
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.
_Mobile Gov Experiences are agency stories about creating anytime, anywhere, any device government services and info. This entry is a story shared by GSA.__ _ The General Services Administration’s Federal Acquisition Service Customer Accounts and Research (CAR) Office created a QR codes presentation for the 2011 GSA Expo to teach government attendees about the benefits of using QR codes to interact with their customers. Why We Did It GSA FAS CAR Office developed the QR codes presentation to show how government agencies can use technology to engage the customer in new ways.
_ Mobile Gov Experiences are agency stories about creating anytime, anywhere, any device government services and info. This entry is a story shared by Department of State._ Secretary Clinton often talks about using “21st Century Statecraft” at the State Department. For us in the website office, this equates to using new tools to get information to the American people. Having a Secretary who understands the power of such innovative tools has definitely helped us move forward.
_Mobile Gov Experiences are agency stories about creating anytime, anywhere, any device government services and info. This entry is a story shared by National Cancer Institute.__ _ The National Cancer Institute (NCI), the nation’s leading cancer research agency and part of the National Institutes of Health has a legislative mandate to collect, organize, and disseminate the results of cancer research to cancer patients and their friends and family, health professionals, and to the cancer research community at large.
To help agencies produce better decision-making across the organization about how to best spend resources on digital services and manage their data, the Digital Government Strategy tasked the Digital Services Advisory Group with “recommending guidelines on agency-wide governance structure for developing and delivering digital services and managing data.” A clear governance structure helps with digital service efficiency and quality of service. Agencies can use the digital services governance recommendations to “establish an agency-wide governance structure for developing and delivering digital services” by November 23.
_ 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.
_ Mobile Gov Experiences are agency stories about creating anytime, anywhere, any device government services and info. This entry is a story shared by AIDS.gov._ _ _ AIDS.gov implemented an innovative model for responsive design by combining the former AIDS.gov and m.aids.gov to a fluid site accessible on computers, smartphones and tablets. View the webinar on AIDs.gov’s responsive design. Why We Did It Testing showed that more and more people were trying to access the website via mobile device but not all mobile devices were receiving the m.
_ Mobile Gov Experiences are agency stories about creating anytime, anywhere, any device government services and info. This entry is a story shared by Federal Aviation Administration._ _ _ The FAA launched a mobile site to cater to the needs of its users on the move. Why We Did It Mobile traffic to FAA.gov grew from 1.5 million to 4.4 million visits over the past two fiscal years. To address this rising demand, FAA Mobile was developed to help our website customers complete popular tasks on small-screen devices.
_Mobile Gov Experiences are agency stories about creating anytime, anywhere, any device government services and info. This entry is a story shared by the Smithsonian._ _ _ The Smithsonian’s Mobile Strategy is designed to be integral to the overall organizational strategy of the institution. This Mobile Gov Experience is a synopsis of a webinar (PDF, 3.3 MB, 18 pages) by Smithsonian’s mobile director, which gives a more in depth description of their process.
_Mobile Gov Experiences are agency stories about creating anytime, anywhere, any device government services and info. This entry is a story shared by the National Library of Medicine.__ _ The National Library of Medicine (NLM) launched MedlinePlus Mobile (m.medlineplus.gov) in January 2010 to provide authoritative consumer-level health information to a growing audience of mobile Internet users. MedlinePlus Mobile is a mobile-optimized Web site that contains a subset of the content that users can find on the full MedlinePlus site (http://medlineplus.
_ Mobile Gov Experiences are agency stories about creating anytime, anywhere, any device government services and info. This entry is a story shared by the U.S. Department of Agriculture._ _ _ Mobile ‘Ask Karen’ is an extension of USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service’s 24/7 virtual representative Ask Karen. Ask Karen is a web knowledge base, populated with answers to questions pertaining to food safety. Ask Karen provides answers to consumers via an automated response system.
_ Mobile Gov Experiences are agency stories about creating anytime, anywhere, any device government services and info.__ This entry is a story shared by the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing._ _ _ The EyeNote application scans paper money and tells the user the denomination, making U.S. paper money accessible to the blind and visually impaired. Why We Did It The U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing was ordered by the U.
In April 2012, the U.S. General Services Administration launched a “full stack” responsive redesign of the federal mobile apps galleries: apps.USA.gov and apps.GobiernoUSA.gov. The full stack includes both a REST API and a complete redesign of the site using responsive design techniques. Responsive web design allows the content on a website to respond to the screen size and device it is being viewed on. So, while the app galleries are rendered one way on desktop browsers, the same website adapts and rearranges content when viewed on a tablet or smartphone.
_Mobile Gov Experiences are agency stories about creating anytime, anywhere, any device government services and info._ This entry is a story shared by the Environmental Protection Agency. _ _ The Enivronmental Protection Agency’s Mobile Access Review Committee (MARC) is a committee that evaluates external (public-facing) mobile app and mobile Web concepts prior to any development. MARC serves as point-of-contact for mobile project owners throughout the Agency and maintains mobile product requirements based on the latest technology, EPA requirements, and best practices.
_ Mobile Gov Experiences are agency stories about creating anytime, anywhere, any device government services and info._ The Labor Stats Application presents the most up-to-date numbers and news releases for top employment statistics published by Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration (ETA) and Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Why We Did It The Labor Department created the app to better share important information using the fastest, simplest, most wide-reaching means available, and this app increases the accessibility of Labor’s statistical data.
_ Mobile Gov Experiences are agency stories about creating anytime, anywhere, any device government services and info. This entry is a story shared by the Environmental Protection Agency._ The Indoor airPLUS app provides home builders and verifier partners in the field easy access to the tools and resources of EPA’s Indoor airPLUS program, which is designed to help builders meet the growing consumer preference for homes with improved indoor air quality and energy efficiency.
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.