Design for America: Mistake 1


Our Design for America contest was great– we had a lot of great entrants in all the categories. One of the categories I was more excited about was the “Redesign of a Government Form” category. While it was a bit esoteric– if you think about it, the primary way people interface with government is through forms. Perhaps people think government is mundane, soulless and complicated because government forms are that way.

They don’t have to be– and that’s what got us excited about seeing what the design community could do with government forms. To top it off, we selected someone who really helped revolutionize the way web forms got made: Kevin Hale to be a judge.

Unfortunately, what happened was that the winning entrant used Wufoo, Hale’s company to build their form. It’s a clear conflict of interest between judge and contestant. I made the mistake of not checking out the form’s URL when I took the screenshot and catching it (I was in a rush to make the announcement at Gov2Expo), and now we’re at a situation where somebody won with a conflict of interest looming.

Sunlight’s an organization about transparency and ethics. So first thing’s first: there’s the confession. We messed up. In order to fix it– initially we thought about just allowing the community to vote on which one won. But I feel like that doesn’t ensure the best result, that ensures the most popular one. And those can be different. So, today we’re going to try and find a new judge and give them the opportunity to judge the forms independently of the original results.