The new Open Government stuff gets results, normally with no media attention. It’s just good, solid work, no drama, no way to sensationalize it. That’s included a lot of progress in the last two years or so from the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Turns out that a group of folks at the GSA, that’s the General Services Administration, has been planning for years to figure out how to make Federal websites more effective, and they concluded a real successful national conversation at the end of last year:
A lot of people provided and refined a lot of good ideas, and here’re my favorite three. Please note I’m biased, since I focus on customer service and getting to the point fast and simply.
1. Talk in plain language. People don’t need fancy anything, much less Washington/Beltway language.
2. Simplify everything. My take on this is that people should be able, ultimately, to go to one place to figure stuff out, to get help, and not be bounced around from place to place, or to be totally lost. My model for this is the 311 style systems in places like NYC or SF, one stop shopping for government services.
3. Get welcome and mission statements off the homepage, or maybe just off the top of homepages. They get in the way, and add little.
Again, this is my take, filtered by my biases.