News and Updates

Innovative work, news and ideas from people and teams in government

ATF.gov – Usability Case Study

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives has some really valuable information for the public that a lot of people search for on ATF.gov. It’s important that the information is easily and quickly accessible. Government agencies reach a wide audience with their information, so making sure everyone can understand your content is important. The DigitalGov User
Apr 29, 2013

Usability Testing + Gov APIs = Best

Good APIs can transform intimidating data sets into something that people can use. Good government APIs can create a better connection between government and citizens. The Digital Government Strategy has spurred Federal adoption of APIs, and the Digital Services Innovation Center and DATA.GOV teams are supporting these efforts by releasing a swath of guidance and
Apr 29, 2013

How to Do Usability Testing with Kids

What do kids know about Web design? As we found out, quite a lot. Recently our DigitalGov User Experience Program teamed up with the Kids.gov team to get some big time feedback from some pint-sized testers in a hallway test. We tested with almost 20 kids ages 6 to 14 at our GSA office,
Apr 26, 2013

Government Must Respond Rapidly to Social Media Hacking

The hacking of an Associated Press news account on Twitter this week, and its fallout, underscored the need for agencies
Apr 25, 2013

NASA’s Be A Martian App

Solar System fans, space shuttles are not the only way you can visit a planet! In July 2012, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory at NASA developed a mobile app called “NASA Be A Martian”, which allows you to become a Martian citizen on planet Mars. A Martian
Apr 25, 2013

Social Media Metrics for Federal Agencies

Social media is transforming how government engages with citizens and how it delivers service. Agencies are using social media to share information and deliver service more quickly and effectively than ever before. Increasingly, these tools are also being used for predictive and sentiment analysis—using the vast
Apr 19, 2013

How Canada is Revolutionizing Digital Governance

The Canadian government is changing how we think of traditional Web management. They built a platform of standards-compliant (HTML5, WCAG and WAI-ARIA), accessible and secure components that its agencies (and even provincial and municipalities) can use to build and maintain their sites. They are also focused
Apr 19, 2013

The SaferCar App

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has created a new iOS app that provides real-time vehicle safety information to consumers from NHTSA’s SaferCar.gov site The new SaferCar app gives consumers immediate access to key safety information to
Apr 18, 2013

National Park Service Apps

The National Park Service offers 3 mobile apps to create mobile experiences at 3 specific parks available for both the Android and iOS platforms. NPS National Mall App – As cherry blossom visitors give way to the summer travelers, visitors can download the NPS’s National Mall App providing visitors with a handheld map and customizable tour plans based
Apr 04, 2013

DOSCareers App

The U.S. Department of State has released a mobile app that informs and educates potential foreign service officers about a diplomatic career. The app provides access
Mar 28, 2013

Regulations.gov – Usability Case Study

More and more people use search as their primary means of finding what they are looking for. When users get confused by the search results, or can’t immediately find what they are looking for, they’re going to get frustrated. They may even leave the site for good. The DigitalGov User Experience Program helped test Regulations.gov on October 5, 2012, to
Mar 22, 2013

SaferBus Mobile App – Usability Case Study

When designing a site, remember that your terms and icons are like signposts that show people where your links and pages lead. Make sure that you use words and pictures that are easily understood or people will have trouble using your site. Small changes like underlining links or adding arrows to indicate expandable information can
Mar 21, 2013

American Red Cross Tornado App

The American Red Cross Tornado App gets your family and home ready for a tornado. The app, which is available on the Android and iOS platforms, puts everything you need to know
Mar 21, 2013

Census takes “March Madness” to a New Level

Government agencies are working hard to communicate complex mountains of data clearly and effectively through graphics. The Census Bureau, known for their great work creating visual images, has done just that. They have created a great data visualization game just in time for March Madness! The game, “Population Bracketology” tests your knowledge of
Mar 20, 2013

NCI QuitPal App

NCI QuitPal is a free smartphone app developed by the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health to support smokers working to become smoke-free. This interactive app, available on the iOS platform, was developed using proven quit
Mar 14, 2013

API Analytics

Similar to website analytics, API analytics focus on reliably reporting the metrics which are most useful to its stakeholders. There are a many ways of collecting, reporting, and consuming API analytics but all revolve around the industry–accepted norm that some form of analytics are crucial to any API program. The most basic metrics will track
Mar 12, 2013

API Design and Documentation

Design At their core, developers want APIs for very straightforward, pragmatic ends. You should always design your APIs and document them with the goal of making it easier for developers to use them. Doing so results in greater adoption and a healthier, more successful API. The least efficient way to support developers would be to
Mar 12, 2013

How to Make APIs—An Overview

After choosing a set of information or services to offer via API, some of your next steps are to plan and implement the API. You’ll still need to prepare documentation, tools, and other elements that make a complete package for the API, but at the center is the actual Web service itself. In many situations,
Mar 12, 2013

Resources and Tools for APIs

Hosted API Tools Labs.Data.gov is a repository of shared services to prototype and provide developer resources to government agencies. Each tool uses Web services and lightweight, open source code to provide powerful functionality. Agencies are encouraged to improve any project and submit pull requests in order to share the improvements with others. API Standards Template With the open
Mar 12, 2013

How to Get Started with APIs

Audit Research existing APIs Regardless of your agency’s level of progress in API production, your first step is to create a developer hub that links to any of your agency’s existing APIs. This can help identify current efforts and connect you with others in your agency already working on APIs. Follow up with a deeper
Mar 12, 2013