In August of 2009 we over at Sunlight started the challenging task of rethinking FCC.gov as part of our Redesigning the Government series. We made mock-ups, gave suggestions and since that time we've been fortunate enough to have had a number of back and forth conversations with the people over at the FCC. We've talked about the problems with their current site, the challenges and possible solutions. Since that time the team put in charge of rebuilding the site at the FCC has made great leaps. They started by launching reboot, which served as a good brochure site while the team tackled the more difficult content. This last November they pushed out some decent wireframes and Tuesday they excitingly released beta.fcc.gov. Through this whole process they've been incredibly transparent, and have consistently asked for feedback from the public, which should be applauded.Continue reading
At the end of September I was pleased to step into the larger role of Creative Director. Working with all of the different departments that make up Sunlight, instead of just one, was a big and interesting step. It involved a lot more work, but the most challenging part was starting to consider how our products, produced for all of our different departments, worked together. Looking at everything we've produced over the last 4+ years was overwhelming, so I set out to evaluate and make changes to at least SunlightFoundation.com by the end of the year.Continue reading
As some of you might recall, we took a stab at redesigning the FCC site a little over a year ago. Since then the FCC has been reconsidering their online presence. A few days ago they released some interesting wireframes of a reimagined FCC.gov site. Looking through those wireframes, it seems like quite a good attempt at organizing their content and really trying and make it more understandable to the general public.
There are a few small things here and there that I can nitpick. For example on the "Search Results" wireframe it would be nice to have a title at the top to say what the user had just searched for. I'm also a bit perplexed as to why on a search results page there would be a section for videos that breaks up the main results. If they want to have results by category they should group them as such and then have links to see full results in each category. Also, please FCC, we're begging you: make things like press releases available in formats other than word and pdf.Continue reading
USA.gov, the site that conveys official information and services about the U.S. government, just launched the new design of their website. Since we took a stab at redesigning it ourselves back in January of '09, we thought we'd see if they took any of our advice.Continue reading
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!Continue reading
In many offices, when technology questions arise, the answer is to reflexively trust the technologists. These are often the folks... View ArticleContinue reading
Our 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 jumpContinue reading
A couple of months ago, as part of our Redesigning the Government series, we took a stab at redesigning and rethinking the FCC website, which resulted in some good discussion between our organizations. Yesterday the FCC released their long awaited Reboot site, which by their definition is an attempt to be “your portal to take part in improving citizen interactions with the Federal Communications Commission”. The questions we've been asking ourselves while evaluating their new site are: what exactly does the above statement mean, what have they done well, and what are the things we think they still need to consider while moving forward.Continue reading
Last month President Obama unveiled his Open Government Directive to create further openness within the executive branch. This directive requires federal agencies to show how they are working toward transparency, public participation, and collaboration by requiring the addition of new web pages – "/open" pages – onto their existing sites. With the first deadline in the directive quickly approaching, we've put together our thoughts on what these pages should look like.Continue reading
A couple of days ago I was pointed to a slideshare presentation that was done as a Webmanager University New Media Talk on user centered design. Yes, there is actually a University for the people who manage federal, state and local government websites. While making my way through the slides I discovered that the Government has two separate resources dedicated to how their employees should implement user centered websites; usability.gov and usa.gov/webcontent. These sites are filled with content written by knowledgeable phd's, which is great, but when government websites seem to be falling further behind in web design and usability, it begs the question of why they're creating their own resources and not just using the myriad ones that exist in the private sector.Continue reading