News and Updates

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

Department of Labor: Download Their Apps, Fork Their Code, Check out the Webinar

The Department of Labor’s DOL Timesheet, OSHA Heat Index Tool and LaborStats apps are available anytime and anywhere for the public. Now their code is available for agencies to leverage for mobile development. All the apps’ code are available on the Mobile Code
Jul 18, 2013

How to Create a Customer Experience Index

In my last post I talked about how we’re kicking off our Customer Experience program in the Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies (OCSIT) at GSA. There are many paths to creating a customer experience program, from starting with cultural issues like employee
Jul 18, 2013

Trends on Tuesday: Mobile a “Second Screen” for TV Viewing

A study conducted by Nielson for Q1 2013 reports that almost half of all mobile users use their mobile devices as second screens while watching TV on a daily basis (46% for smartphones, 43% for tablets).
Jul 16, 2013

Digital Metrics for Federal Agencies

Digital metrics are critical for measuring, analyzing, and reporting on the effectiveness of your Web, mobile, social media, and other digital channels. Every agency should have a metrics strategy to measure performance, customer satisfaction, and engagement, and use the data to make continuous improvements to serve its customers. Part 1: Common Metrics: Guidance, Best Practices, and
Jul 15, 2013

To the Brink: JFK and the Cuban Missile Crisis Exhibit App

The 2013 JFK Library and Museum exhibit “To the Brink: JFK and the Cuban Missile Crisis” now has a virtual partner on the iPad. Anytime, anywhere, people will be able
Jul 11, 2013

Kicking Off Our Customer Experience Program

The vision for my office, the Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies (OCSIT) at GSA, is simple: Deliver a world-class experience to the public when accessing government information and services – anytime, anywhere – through the delivery channel they choose. We create and leverage products, services and
Jul 10, 2013

Trends on Tuesday: Top Smartphones on the Market

ComScore recently released key trends in the United States’ smartphone industry for three months (February-May) with Apple ranked as the top smartphone manufacturer and Android as the top smartphone platform. During the three months, 141 million people owned smartphones. Top Smartphone Original Equipment Manufacturers
Jul 09, 2013

Instagram Now Available for Federal Agencies

Instagram is the latest mobile and social media tool available to federal, state and local governments to better engage with the public, with a newly negotiated government-compatible Terms of Service (TOS) agreement. GSA collaborated with Instagram to negotiate the amended terms, which brings the total number of
Jul 08, 2013

Mobile Gov for Independence Day!

Gearing up for the Fourth? Here are some anytime, anywhere government apps that can help make celebrating the United States easier and more fun. If you’re worried about the weather you can check out the National Weather Service mobile website. If the heat
Jul 04, 2013

Business.USA.gov – Usability Case Study

When redesigning a site, it’s easy to place menu items, text and other content wherever you can make them fit. It’s harder to take a step back and ask the strategic question: Is this the best place for this? A good rule of thumb is to never make any changes randomly—base your decisions on user
Jul 02, 2013

Fueleconomy.gov – Usability Case Study

Many technical websites have a hard time explaining information to the general public. This happens because users don’t understand the industry-specific or scientific terms. Fortunately, solutions to these problems are fairly easy—changing menu and navigation item text, or adding a line of explanatory text on key pages or complex graphics. The DigitalGov User Experience Program
Jul 02, 2013

Trends on Tuesday: 10 Mobile Trends to Embrace

Jackie Rov of tmgmedia points out that with more than a billion smartphones in consumer’s pockets, it’s more important than ever for brands to adapt their strategy to mobile trends. To engage with consumers in the mobile era, we must understand the shift in consumer behavior
Jul 02, 2013

What We’ve Learned: Three Years of Answering Questions on Social Media

USA.gov and GobiernoUSA.gov have been engaging with the public on social media long before Mayor Cory Booker underscored the need at this year’s SXSW. In January 2010, we began to respond to questions and comments on our Facebook and Twitter accounts. We never advertised the service, but people naturally
Jul 02, 2013

What’s In a Name Does Matter

Can you imagine how frustrating and confusing it would be to find several variations of the same agency name on different sites or even different pages or documents on the same site? This is what happens everyday to Spanish-speaking customers accessing the Spanish names of
Jul 01, 2013

Develop with Web Standards

What It Is Do you remember the days when web pages had banners announcing that they were “best viewed with browser X”? Veteran web developers and designers certainly do, because they had to consider numerous exceptions for certain browsers and their versions. Today, building websites isn’t as challenging and that’s because developers are moving toward
Jun 30, 2013

6 Easy Ways to Improve User Experience on Websites

If you want a better user experience on your government website, there’s a simple secret: early planning. Good designers know that it’s much more difficult to make changes to something after it’s built than before. This is true for
Jun 28, 2013

Medicare.gov Mobile Website

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services redesigned Medicare.gov as a new and improved responsive mobile website for their users (beneficiaries, caregivers and advocates). The users of the Medicare.gov can apply for Medicare services find health plans, doctors, hospitals and nursing homes review Medicare costs, claims, appeals and
Jun 27, 2013

Making Multimedia Section 508-Compliant and Accessible

If you plan for accessibility when creating and posting media, you can create a rich, interactive community where users can get important government information from your agency’s official website or blog and dialogue with government.
Jun 26, 2013

5 Myths About Social Media Accessibility

Guest post by Mario Damiani, Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) at the Department of Labor. ODEP spearheads the Social Media Accessibility Working Group within the Federal Social Media Community of Practice. The working group recently released a toolkit for agencies to make their content more accessible for citizens with disabilities, including recommendations from agencies
Jun 26, 2013

Tour Data.gov 2.0

As you know, last month Data.gov launched its new open-source Data.gov 2.0 catalog (catalog.data.gov). Based on CKAN, a data management platform used by many open-data catalogs around the world, Data.gov’s new catalog has received nothing but kudos from users. For the first time, our raw datasets, tools
Jun 24, 2013