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Design for America: Mistake 1

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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.

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The Design for America Winners

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howlawsmadeWIRTH2.jpg (2450×1207)The Design for America contest led to the most compelling, interesting visualizations of any of our contests. With about 72 entries, the design community stepped up and showed amazing ways for us to view government and imagine new ways for government to serve citizens.

Read about all the winners after the jump.

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More Design for America Judges

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I'm happy to announce three new judges for Design for America. Some great people have come out in support of the contest, and we're happy to have them join the program.

The first one is Kevin Hale From Wufoo. Wufoo is a great company that helps make it easy and cheap to build forms for the web. They are real pioneers in the space of form design, and we're really happy to have Kevin help judge the "Best Design of a Government Form" category.

One of our favorite tools for visualization is ManyEyes from IBM's Visual Communications Lab. Fernanda Viegas and Martin Wattenberg led this project at IBM and are now in the midst of starting their own firm: Flowing Media. We're happy to have them on board judging the visualization of House/Senate rule proceedings.

We still have many more judges to announce. Stay tuned!

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Our next contest: Design for America

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skitched-20100317-143529.jpgOur next contest, and first of two contests of 2010 is "Design for America". As we talked about in January, opening government involves more than just developers: we need the art and design community to take data from our government and tell stories about it.

Part contest, part festival, the Design for America contest's intent is to inspire the design community to tell great stories about how our government works, what our government does, and what it could do. It's a contest as much about possibility as transparency, and with categories ranging from infographics to web design, there's plenty for all to compete in. Each category has a $5,000 prize associated with it now, and as we gain sponsors for each category, we'll be increasing the prizes associated as sponsorship allows.

Read more about it after the jump

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