The Best government websites are those that are utilizing web 2.0 as a means to connect, communicate, and ultimately interact with constituents.
More than one-third of the world’s population is online, a number that is increasing every single day. Now that the majority of governments have at least embraced the internet by creating websites, it’s time to take the next step and use it as tool to better serve their constituency. This is an area where the private sector has far surpassed the public sector and the time to catch up is now.
The best government websites are using their sites as a means to communicate with their constituents through blogs and aggregated social media portals. These are places where constituents are already active; however, this is not just a ‘build it, and they will come’ situation, rather it’s a ‘use it correctly with engaging content, two-way communication, and helpful information…and they will come’ situation.
The idea that a website can be perfected goes against the nature of technology as we know it. That being said, the best government websites right now are those that are helping the public better understand the government’s role in their life. It’s those that are cutting out the middle man (usually the media) and talking directly to and with their constituents. Based on that criteria, here is a list of some of the best government websites currently in 2013.
Alabama.gov features a responsive design that formats automatically to the device used to visit the site. As for information, Alabama.gov allows visitors to more easily discover useful local, state, and federal government information including a live chat option and the ability to sign up for emergency alerts. The site also features an interactive social media portal which provides links to RSS feeds, Twitter, and Facebook pages and more from elected state officials.
Chicago is the latest in a growing lists of U.S. cities to implement Open311 web protocol on their government website. Open311 is form of technology that provides open channels of communication for issues that concern public space and public services. Residents can file service requests, check the status of previous requests, receive important information, and more all from their phone.
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The Utah Department of Public Safety boldly and truly has recognized that “most people in our community have little or no direct contact with law enforcement, emergency management, or other public safety professionals.” They’ve aimed to change that by creating a page for the Public Information Office which allows citizens to sign up for emergency alerts, read the latest news releases, and contact a Public Information Officer directly.
All 45 departments in the City of Boston participate in the BAR system by building performance scorecards. These scorecards start by identifying the key program areas of the department, then list the specific strategic goals of each division, and then align key performance measures against each goal. Performance against these goals is then tracked on a monthly basis on over 2,000 performance measures. The ultimate goal of BAR is to improve government services Boston’s residents, businesses, and visitors.
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