DigitalGov Search

The API Briefing: Five Federal APIs for Building a Government Jobs Finder Mobile App

May 20, 2015 |

The spring semesters are winding down at the universities where I teach. Many students are looking for summer internships or their first job after graduation. Of course, I talk about the opportunities in government through the Pathways program, the Presidential Management Fellows, or the various agency-specific internship programs. I’ve demonstrated USAJOBS in my classes, but Read »

Our Customer is Your Customer: Working Together to Improve Search on .Gov Websites

May 14, 2015 |

We know search engines aren’t Magic 8 Balls, but that’s still how we expect them to behave. We want them to answer our complex and burning questions based on just a few words. And we’ve felt that frustration when the top search results don’t serve our needs, and the results page itself makes us work. Read »

Mobilegeddon: Government Edition

Apr 15, 2015 |

Much is being said and written about the coming Mobilegeddon/Mopocalypse on April 21st—the day Google’s ranking algorithm will begin boosting results for mobile-friendly sites and penalizing mobile-unfriendly sites. While some agency websites are mobile-friendly, a great many are not. We will do well to pay attention—almost 25% of traffic on government websites is coming from Read »

Using Personas to Better Understand Customers: USA.gov Case Study

Apr 6, 2015 |

Personas are fictional characters that describe an organization’s customer behaviors, emotions, attributes, motivations, and goals. They are an important tool to share customer insights and understanding across an organization. Personas also serve as a check to make sure your organization’s actions meet the needs of the majority of customers, including visitors to your website, contact Read »

Avoid Weak ‘Links’ in Your Digital Chain

Feb 25, 2015 |

Users don’t like surprises. Unexpected or unwanted content undermines the credibility of your agency and frustrates users who come to your website looking for specific information. Using links appropriately in your website content is one way to build trust with users, according to an article by Kara Pernice of the Nielsen Norman Group. Here’s a Read »

Top 10 Things (We Think) You Don’t Know about DigitalGov

Feb 19, 2015 |

Things you don’t know about this website, DigitalGov.gov, that is. It’s our first birthday, and we’re celebrating by sharing some fun facts with you. A more sober look at our strategy can be read on our 6-month post, but this is a party post! w00t! 10. We’ve published an impressive 480 articles and counting (this Read »

Don’t Forget the Long Tail: It Can Deliver Value

Feb 13, 2015 |

Top tasks matter. Visitors come to your website with specific goals in mind. Using a top-task methodology can be particularly useful when redesigning your homepage. But, top tasks aren’t the whole story. Our government websites also have a large range of tiny tasks that, when managed carefully, have the potential to deliver value. In The Read »

From Elephant to ELK: How We Migrated Our Analytics System to Elasticsearch

Jan 7, 2015 |

As I mentioned in a recent blog post about image search, we’re avid users of Elasticsearch for search. We also recently ported another vital part of our system to Elasticsearch: analytics. This post is a technical deep dive into how our analytics system works, and specifically how and why we used Elasticsearch to build it. Background DigitalGov Search is Read »

Follow the Clicks: A Look at Click-through Rates on Government Websites

Nov 12, 2014 |

How important is it to show the most relevant result at the top of your search results page? Very. Searchers expect to find what they’re looking for quickly and easily—and without scrolling—when they search on government websites. If a Web page isn’t “above the fold” as one of the first listings on the first results Read »

A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Tokens

Oct 28, 2014 |

Increasingly, we’ve noticed that our agency customers are publishing their highest quality images on social media and within database-driven multimedia galleries on their websites. These sources are curated, contain metadata, and have both thumbnails and full-size images. That’s a big improvement in quality over the images embedded within HTML pages on agencies’ websites. After some Read »

Recap of Social Digital Search Webinar

Oct 14, 2014 |

Content is no longer limited to .gov sites. As mentioned in a recent blog post, Sharing is Caring, Adding Social Media Accounts to Search, DigitalGov Search uses Flickr, Instagram, and YouTube to populate image and video search results. On September 30, 2014, I presented with Justin Herman from the Social Media Community of Practice about: What Read »

The Federal Register: Improving Visitors’ Search Experience on Agency Websites

Sep 24, 2014 |

The Office of the Federal Register’s mission “informs citizens of their rights and obligations, documents the actions of Federal agencies, and provides a forum for public participation in the democratic process.” As the winner of the Bright Idea Award, FederalRegister.gov is clear and easy to use, but most citizens rarely frequent it. More frequently they Read »

Sharing is Caring, Adding Social Media Accounts to Search

Sep 5, 2014 |

Content is no longer limited to your .gov website. Social media accounts also contain a treasure trove of information relevant to your site’s visitors. Keeping that in mind, DigitalGov Search has worked to bring all your content, wherever it is, to your search results. Finding Read »

Help the Public Find Your Information, Wherever and However You’ve Published It

Aug 26, 2014 |

As traffic to desktop .gov websites declines, how we publish our content increasingly matters. We need to meet people where they are as they seek information on the Internet. To do so, we need to adjust to the new world of mobile applications, social media, and instant answers provided by search engines. Freeing Content from Read »

Search Engine Optimization for Government Websites

Jun 13, 2014 |

On June 10, 2014, the Metrics Community of Practice of the Federal Web Managers Council and DigitalGov University hosted an event to honor the memory of Joe Pagano, a former co-chair of the Web Metrics Sub-Council. This third lecture honoring Joe focused on search engine optimization (SEO). While commercial search engines do a remarkable job Read »

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