The Coolest Government Digital Experiences – No, Seriously

The reputation of outdated government websites and digital experiences is fading fast, thanks to a combination of the UX revolution and the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA).

 

The GSA Advantage!® gives government employees access to innovative technology vendors and contractors, making it easy for federal, state and local entities to use pre-approved payment methods to deliver the coolest government digital experiences of the 21st century (for real!).

 

Sometimes, Government departments actually do something cool Click To Tweet

 

Government agencies are experiencing digital disruption and are in need of digital strategic partners, service providers, and vendors. Although government agencies work within fixed budgets and high regulation environments, the GSA allows them to partner with pre-screened IT and technology firms to deliver cutting edge digital experiences.

 

We’ve laid out six examples of the coolest government digital experiences, giving you a glimpse into the future of government and technology.

 

 

The Peace Corps

 

Apps and Responsive Design

When an organization relies on partnership and volunteer sign-ups, apps and responsive designs will ensure that sign-ups don’t lose momentum as website traffic shifts from desktop to mobile.

 

The Peace Corps has a history of using apps to draw volunteers and partners from the world’s most popular devices. In 2014, Partnering for Impact delivered information from the Peace Corps Office of Strategic Partnerships, giving potential partners information on geographic reach, impact, and opportunities.

 

Peace Corps impact

Image Source: AppAdvice.com

 

The Peace Corps doesn’t rely on Apps alone to gather inquiries from volunteers and partners. The website itself is 100% mobile-friendly with a responsive design that works well regardless of screen size. Well done, Peace Corps!

 

Looking for more? Download our bonus Top Picks from Government Sites!

 

How responsive is your government website? Take our Free Responsive Website Test and learn how to improve your site today.

 

Peace Corps responsive design

 

More Government Apps & eTools

 

National Drug Code Directory

Prescription drug safety and information is now available on the NDC Directory App. Patients and healthcare providers can check and verify medications approved by the FDA on a mobile app.

 

Patients can check and verify medications approved by the FDA on a mobile app Click To Tweet

 

Consumer Product Safety Commission

Do you want to stay up to date with safety recalls? Recalls.gov allows you to sign up for email alerts based on product category.

As app technology advances, we’re sure to see an increase in the number of government agency apps available to the public.

 

Government Data

Data.gov gives entrepreneurs, data scientists, and developers access to government data sets across 14 categories:

  • Agriculture
  • Climate
  • Consumer
  • Ecosystems
  • Education
  • Energy
  • Finance
  • Health
  • Local Government
  • Manufacturing
  • Maritime
  • Ocean
  • Public Safety
  • Science & Research

 

Using open source applications, Data.gov helps citizens leverage data sets to deliver technology and mobile tools that improve our quality of life with modern conveniences.

 

NeighborhoodScout.com is not a government website, but it uses government data to provide visitors with crime, school, and real estate reports for any address.

 

HDScores.com gives citizens access to health inspection data for restaurants, schools, hotels, hospitals, and more. The site developers use data from 1732 health departments and 2550 health agencies.

 

Have you ever used Carfax.com? Another cool site that uses Data.gov to deliver valuable information to auto buyers.

 

Go Green with SimpleEnergy.com. The mobile app enables you to compare your energy consumption to your neighbors’ by using several U.S. data resources.

 

Hundreds of websites help the public use government data to deliver important information the public. A comprehensive list of these websites is available on Data.gov.

 

Government digital experience

 

Department of Defense – SBIR Program Success

 

Hypothesis-driven Development

The Department of Defense (DOD) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) is designed to draw solutions from the small business community that address defense technology gaps and identify private sector technologies that have commercialization potential.

 

Since 1982, the SBIR program has stimulated tech innovation through the use of small businesses in research and development. Without adequate digital transformation, the program would fail to attract participation from small businesses.

 

The SBIR program is structured into three phases, making submissions and participation a tedious process in a highly competitive environment. In 2009, The National Academies Press released a comprehensive Assessment of the SBIR Program at the Department of Defense. Among the findings, researchers reported that a high-quality web-based information delivery system (aka the website) is the key to the DoD and small businesses collaboration.

 

Building on these findings and hypothesis-driven development, the Department of Defense website recently launched several help tools within the SBIR website to encourage small business participation:

 

Without these exceptional navigation features, businesses would not have access to valuable program roadmaps that connect them with opportunities to win valuable federal R&D awards and support the Department of Defense.

 

Social Media & Citizen Communication

The government gets a bad rap on social media (ranked the most annoying industry on social media in 2016), but a few agencies deserve a high five for using social media as a communication tool to connect with citizens.

 

The TSA on Twitter

Ask TSA social media

 

Not sure if you can pack an item in your carry-on luggage? You can get an answer from the AskTSA Twitter account.

 

Anti-Bullying Initiative on Facebook

 

Stop Bullying digital experience

 

StopBullying.gov gives parents, teachers, and administrators instant access to resources, tools, and education opportunities. At 218,221 likes and counting, the Facebook page is helping to spread awareness and distribute valuable information to citizens who want to help prevent bullying.

 

Looking for more? Download our bonus Top Picks from Government Sites!

 

FDA.gov

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has an active Facebook page to alert citizens to new clinical trials, help prevent opioid addiction and death, and other food and drug issues that require public attention and interaction.

 

Department of Homeland Security: Countering Violent Extremism Task Force

 

Communication and Collaboration

In 2016, the Department of Homeland Security launched a Countering Violent Extremism Task Force division and website to help coordinate government efforts and partnerships to help prevent violent extremism in the United States.

 

The Task Force is organized into four lines of effort, with Digital Strategies and Communications taking the lead in the digital transformation space.  Defense Department cells are being set up in key areas of the United States to facilitate active collaboration with private sector technology specialists. The Defense Innovation Unit Experimentals (DIUX) will focus on emerging and breakthrough technologies and build direct relationships with the Department of Defense.

 

The new CVE website helps implement coordinated communications and strategies between departments and the public in countering violent extremism efforts.

 

Government Partnership for Humanitarian Efforts

 

Partnerships

While community and government partnerships for humanitarian efforts are nothing new, websites with clean, easy-to-scan designs and the right calls to action give these partnerships the opportunity for maximum impact and growth.

 

In late 2016, The Department of State launched a Partnership for Refugee Resettlement website, calling private companies in the United States to help impact education, employment, and enablement for refugees’ needs.

 

Conclusion

No matter what area of the public a government agency is serving, the opportunity exists to deliver amazing digital experiences with responsive websites, apps, and social media.

 

Adam Motiwala

Partner at Fifth Tribe, Product Owner, and loves to work with people trying to solve big problems.