News and Updates

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

API Basics

Common Technical Choices Protocol API protocol is the set of rules that govern how an API functions. The protocol outlines the structure and definitions of the API. The two common forms are REST and SOAP. REST is the dominant choice for API protocol because it uses the http protocol that powers the Web. REST supports more
Mar 12, 2013

Benefits of APIs

Understanding the benefits of API production allows you to coordinate with system owners and other stakeholders to modernize the agency’s systems and unlock the sizable potential. Here are just some of these opportunities. Efficiency Providing API access allows for content to be created once and automatically published or made available to many channels. Your agency’s
Mar 12, 2013


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
Mar 07, 2013

USAID, HHS & DOL Mobile Gov App Challenge Winners

One way federal agencies create Mobile Gov products is through third party development. Some agencies use platforms like to get the word out to developers and there have been 3 mobile app challenge awards so far this
Mar 07, 2013

USDA’s Amber Waves App

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Economic Research Service (ERS) has developed a tablet app for their Amber Waves magazine which showcases
Feb 28, 2013

CDC’s Solve the Outbreak App

The Centers for Disease Control has launched a new table app Solve the Outbreak designed to teach users how CDC’s disease detectives save lives everyday. In this interactive, engaging app, you are a disease detective who gets to decide what to do when an outbreak
Feb 21, 2013

Contractor Vehicle Navigator – Usability Case Study

When users interact with a website to find information, it is important that we help them find their way by using plain language, clear terminology and visible help text. On December 7, 2012, the DigitalGov User Experience Program helped test the U.S. General Services Administration’s Contract Vehicle Navigator website. This Navigator site helps contracting officers find
Feb 19, 2013

QR Codes

QR Codes or Quick Response codes are two-dimensional codes that are scanned with a smartphone, connecting individuals to additional online content or information. They are made up of modules arranged on a contrasting background. How QR Codes
Feb 14, 2013

Mobile Gov for Valentine’s Day!

Need a last minute Valentine’s Day gift idea? We’ve put together some last minute anytime, anywhere government Valentine’s ideas for your special
Feb 14, 2013

You’ll Have Them at Swipe: Making An Awesome Mobile User Experience Webinar

Learn how to create amazing and engaging Mobile Gov User Experiences by watching this webinar. Anytime, anywhere government will be used in numerous contexts and requires developers to think about more than just content, security and privacy during implementation. In fact, Smashing magazine
Feb 11, 2013

Pointe du Hoc Battle Site Mobile App

The Pointe du Hoc mobile app serves as a tour guide and learning tool for this World War II D-Day landing site in France. The American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) developed both Android
Jan 24, 2013

Commerce Departmental Library – Usability Case Study

A website with too much information on the homepage, or any page, will overwhelm users in less than a second. They will be unable to find a starting point to accomplish what they came there to do. If users are not able to locate the information they need and/or are unable to get past the
Jan 23, 2013

Mobile Gov Resources for 2013!

With mobile use growing exponentially and federal agencies implementing customer-facing mobile services for the Digital Government Strategy, we decided to put together a Mobile Gov resource “cheat sheet” with concepts and information we think will be helpful for agencies implementing Mobile Gov in 2013. Here’s what Mobile Gov implementers need to
Dec 21, 2012

Analytics, APIs and Open Content Resources

Agencies have been working away at building better digital services and here, at the Digital Services Innovation Center, we’ve been building resources to help. We have been focusing on three areas, 1. The Digital Analytics Program. We announced this program in early October to help agencies better measure performance and customer satisfaction
Dec 18, 2012

NORAD Tracks Santa App

Mobile Gov Experiences are agency stories about creating anytime, anywhere, any device government services and info. This entry is a story shared by NORAD. The NORAD Tracks Santa apps provide a countdown to Santa’s Christmas Eve flight, interactive games and live tracking of Santa’s progress on December 24th. Why
Dec 18, 2012 – Usability Case Study

One of the most vital parts of any website is its starting point. When a visitor arrives on the main page of your site, they should be able to quickly tell what the main tasks are and how to perform them. Visual cues and plain language are the best ways to accomplish this. The
Dec 17, 2012

IRS – Usability Case Study

Acronyms and jargon are fine when you want to communicate quickly to an internal audiences or to like-minded readers. Once the scope of your audience widens, however, these elements can make your pages harder to understand. The IRS recognized that its pages about tax planning for retirement were reaching an audience beyond tax professionals, and
Dec 14, 2012 – Usability Case Study

After conducting a usability test and listening to customer feedback, the team and the DigitalGov User Experience Program identified these three issues as both important and quickly solvable. Problem 1: Terminology and Labels Confusing The terminology and labels used were either too technical or too abstract for users to understand—a far cry from the plain
Dec 06, 2012

Using Gamification in Federal Projects

Gamification is the practice of using game technology or design principles for something that is not inherently game-like. Some examples include: bronze, silver, and gold badges for reading a set number of books, progress bars in online surveys, leader boards for top grades on an exam, or rewards for attending in-person events. As gamification projects are
Nov 30, 2012

#SocialGov Summit Highlights Accessibility Challenges

The recent #SocialGov Summit on accessibility of government social media raised emerging issues faced by agencies in their effort to make sure the information citizens need is communicated to them when and how they need it. For many, the most eye opening exercise was simply to hear their tweets read back to them through an iPhone VoiceOver screen reader,
Nov 30, 2012