12 Big Ideas & Predictions for 2013

We saw some big changes across the federal government with the introduction of the Digital Government Strategy in 2012. And it was a big year for innovation at the Department of Health & Human Services, where I’m part of a great team that’s working to transform us into the digital age. Looking forward, 2013 promises to be even bigger!

My colleagues at the Digital Communications Division at HHS and the Federal Web Managers Council have teamed up to bring you 12 big ideas & predictions for 2013:

  1. Help Wanted: Community Manager, Social Media Manager, Social Media Strategist, Social Media Coordinator will become official titles for positions within the federal government. Why does this matter? The right social media team can react quickly and effectively in time of crisis and take advantage of a Super Bowl-sized opportunity on the fly.
  2. 2013 will be the year that ‘m-dot’ died. More web managers will move to responsive design for their websites or mobile apps for targeted content.
  3. Not just responsive design. Responsive content too! Citizen engagement and better customer service will lead to a self-sustaining feedback loop that fuels constant iteration and constant site improvement.
  4. At your service! The success of the Project MyUSA (formerly MyGov) will mean we are finally giving citizens the level of customization and personalization they’ve been getting for years from private sector services.
  5. May I have your attention please? The use of rotating homepage billboards will continue regardless of their value or interest to the public.
  6. AP… what? Structured content and “content as data” will be game changers. This year, everybody will finally understand what an API is and what it does.
  7. #%@! Analytics & sentiment analysis will have a big impact on social media strategy in 2013 and beyond.
  8. [INFOGRAPHIC] Infographics like this will grow in importance as a light, sharable, and printable alternative to video.
  9. Here’s to your health! Health data will hit the mainstream as key parts of the Affordable Care Act kick in later this year. And will exceed 500 open datasets.
  10. Open Government: Open source platforms will continue to dominate as content management systems offer opportunities for collaboration across the federal government.
  11. Git with the program! If you haven’t heard of GitHubTwitter Bootstrap, and LESS CSS, you will by the end of 2013. They may change the way we do web.
  12. Not just for zombies. Gamification, incentivization, and competition on social media platforms will help our content to go viral. Engagement – it’s not just for zombies anymore.

Let us know what you think and share your own ideas and predictions in the comments.  Stay tuned for 12 more predictions coming soon.

Reblogged from the Digital Gov blog.

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Job Search Tools are Going Mobile

Searching for jobs on a mobile phone
The Labor Department’s Employment and Training Administration has a number of great online tools to help Americans find new employment or learn new skills from training providers in their community. In the past year alone, more than 40 million people have accessed these tools from their desktops. However, as technology changes, more and more people are using mobile/phone-based browsers to conduct the majority of their Web browsing. The department’s online resources are changing to keep up with the rapid growth and increased use of these devices and systems.

This week, we’ve made some of our most popular online tools available as mobile-optimized websites. These mobile sites give smartphone or tablet users quick access to key job search and training resources. Users can:

  • Locate and contact the American Job Center closest to them.
  • Conduct a Job Search by searching local job listings throughout the entire United States. Job listings are updated daily and can be searched by job type or keyword as well as by city, state or ZIP code.
  • Perform a Veterans Job Search to match military job experience to civilian careers, and then view local job listings for those careers. Users can search by their military job title or their occupational classification (MOC/MOS) code and can view job listings by city, state or ZIP code.
  • Browse the Salary Finder, which provides average hourly wages or annual salaries by occupation and location. The data come from the Occupational Employment Statistics program of the department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  • Search the Training Finder for education and training programs in a specific area. Users can search by occupation, program or school, and then find contact information for the relevant program.

These changes are part of the department’s ongoing efforts to make workforce resources more open and accessible to the communities who need them most, and to ensure that job seekers have a range of tools at their fingertips.

Reblogged from Work in Progress, The Official Blog of the U.S. Department of Labor.

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Redesigned draws a crowd… and goes responsive

In October, we launched a redesigned and re-energized to make it easier for you to find the information you need. The results from the past 60 days show we’ve made very good progress. And the best part? We’re just getting started.

For example, because they know that mobile device use is the future, last week our web team launched a truly responsive design. So now, when you visit our site using a mobile device, you won’t just benefit from a page that scales to your smaller screen–instead, you’ll see a page that rearranges itself to fit your device. We’re all pretty excited about this new development, and I think it’s a wonderful holiday gift to everyone who uses their smartphone or tablet to visit

Screen shot from DOT site

Our goals for are simple:

  • To help you find what you need as easily as possible;
  • To make the most popular resources more accessible; and
  • To arrange our resources in line with how you think about transportation.

Just two months after our launch, our site statistics show that the decisions we made–using public input–are driving real results.

Website on tabletVisits to have increased by 30 percent. That means our site is easier to find. And because the number of page views has grown even faster, that means that when people visit the site, they’re looking at more of what we offer and staying with us longer.What are they finding? Well, our new topic pages andaudience pages are among the most visited on the site. With these topic landing pages, we tried to organize our resources around the kind of transportation you might be interested in, instead of organizing it around DOT offices and agency acronyms.

These numbers show we’re heading down the right path, but there’s plenty of work left to be done. Our web team is testing the site regularly and reviewing the results to be sure you can find what you need, when you need it, and on whatever device you want to use.

One part of that is our customer survey. If that pops up while you’re browsing our site, please take the time to let us know how we’re doing and how we can make the site even more useful.

There’s also a feedback button on every single page so you can let us know what’s working and what isn’t.

After all, it might be our site, but you’re in the driver’s seat.

Reblogged from

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Introducing !

This entry was reposted from the Digital Strategy Blog.

Have you heard about Probably not, but if you work on or use CMS’ websites, it is a tool you use every day.

The Web & New Media Group (WNMG) started building about 10 months ago and completed the full launch of the site as part of the redesign on August 21, 2012. represents a shared code library for all of CMS’ public websites. As websites (ours and everyone else’s!) have grown in complexity over the past decade, they have come to be built on many common code and image libraries. These include the following file types:

  • Website headers & footers
  • Javascript libraries
  • CSS (stylesheet) files
  • Shared images
  • HTML snippets

Many of these files are developed by CMS and/or contractors, but there are also many common code libraries used across almost all commercial and Federal websites these days. Common libraries used by CMS include:

  • jQuery
  • Twitter Bootstrap
  • YUI (Yahoo! User Interface Library)

By placing all of these common code files onto, we can use the same code across all of CMS’ websites. supports both a global directory of assets used across all websites as well as folders for site-specific code libraries (e.g.,,, etc.).

Some of the benefits of this approach include:

  • The ability to cache files across all of CMS’ websites, resulting in better website performance
  • The ability to release new versions of code libraries across all websites at once
  • A common set of code built & tested to Section 508 compliance and cross-browser performance

I’ve mentioned how WNMG is using to support development of the public websites, but any CMS web-based project can be built against the framework. Using for your web project gains you all of the benefits above and also saves you development time by leveraging the work that has already been done. Documentation & Downloads are available online. We are continuing to iterate and grow the amount of documentation online, so please check back frequently.

If you are interested in using for a web development project you are working on, please let us know in the comments. We are happy to address any questions you have or to provide additional information. Your feedback will help make this project better!

Please post all comments/feedback on the original HHS post.

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Digital Government Strategy Milestones Report

Screenshot of Digital Strategy milestones webpage.Yesterday marked three months since the release of the Digital Government Strategy and agencies have been making great strides in meeting the milestones toward building a 21st Century Government. In his blog, Building-blocks of a 21st Century Digital Government, Steve Van Roekel said

Executing on this vision of government cannot happen alone. To provide the highest value of services, we must rethink from step one how government builds and provides services for the American people. We must unlock rich government data, information and services so that everyone from citizen developers and private sector entrepreneurs, to our very own Federal agencies can help provide the American people with the access to these services “anywhere, anytime, on any device.”

This blog was released in conjunction with the milestones deliverables page where you can find:

What’s your agency doing to meet the milestones? Let us know about the great work you are doing, and remember to check out the Digital Services Innovation Center webpage and digital strategy milestone page for guidance, resources, and training.

Reposted from Digital Gov Blog.


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Have Your Say! NARA needs your input on Digital Strategy!

This entry was reblogged from the NARAtions blog.

On May 23, 2012, the White House released the Digital Government Strategy, which outlines how all federal agencies will work to make information and services easily accessible on the internet, anytime, anywhere, and on any device. President Barack Obama said,

“Ultimately, this Strategy will ensure that agencies use emerging technologies to serve the public as effectively as possible. As a government, and as a trusted provider of services, we must never forget who our customers are – the American people.”

At the National Archives, we are working to make our data and information available to you.

Weigh in and let us know what you’d like us to focus on.
We’ve developed two lists. The first list is for proposed services to optimize for mobile use, so you can better access these services via a smartphone, tablet, or another mobile device. The second list is for systems to enable via Web Services like APIs, so that the data will be more accessible, especially for developers to reuse. Candidates were selected based on the possibility of implementation by May 2013. Please also let us know what additional candidates you would like to see optimized for mobile or enabled via APIs in the future.

In the comments below, please let us know what you would like to prioritized and specific recommendations for what will be most useful to you. If you prefer, you can email your recommendations to

To learn more about the agency’s implementation of the Digital Government Strategy, please visit

Proposed Mobile Candidates:

  • Mobile optimize
  • Develop a mobile application based on the Daily Compilation of Presidential Documents.
  • Mobile optimize
  • Mobile optimize the Online Public Access resource, the online public portal for National Archives records.
  • Make additional National Archives records available through Wikipedia, which is mobile optimized and available through mobile apps.
  • Make additional National Archives records available through Flickr, which is mobile optimized and available through mobile apps.
  • Make improvements to Today’s Document mobile application.
  • Make improvements to the mobile application for DocsTeach, an online educational resource featuring National Archives records.
Proposed API Candidates:
  • Integration of API into and its API. This integration would provide greater access to public comments and supporting documents in, and improve process for submitting public comments from to
  • Expand the API to include the “Public Inspection Desk.”
  • Develop an API for FDsys through the Office of Federal Register – Government Printing Office Partnership.
  • Develop an API for the Online Public Access resource, the online public portal for National Archives records.
  • Make additional National Archives records available through Wikipedia,  which is accessible through the MediaWiki API.
  • Make additional National Archives records available through Flickr, which is accessible through the Flickr API.

Please leave your comments for NARA on the original NARAtions blog post.

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Seeking Your Input for USDA’s Digital Strategy

This entry was reposted from the USDA Blog.

On May 23, 2012, the White House released the Federal Digital Strategy aimed at building a 21stcentury government provides open data and digital services to the American people and its employees.

As part of our Digital Strategy, USDA has identified several first-move candidates that can be improved to meet the call for web APIs and mobile optimized services by May 23, 2013.

We’d like your input in deciding which two candidates in each category we will commit to completing by OMB’s May 23, 2013 deadline. We’d love to hear your feedback – which of these candidates would be most useful to you? What should we consider when creating web APIs and optimizing for mobile? Did we miss anything?

We have identified the following first-move candidates to make available as web Application Programming Interfaces (APIs):

Name: World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates
: Provides USDA’s comprehensive forecasts of supply and demand for major U.S. and global crops and U.S. livestock. The report gathers information from a number of statistical reports published by USDA and other government agencies, and provides a framework for additional USDA reports.
Main Customers:
Government, Business, Media, Education Institutions, Consumers

Name: National Farmers Market Directory
Agricultural Marketing Service-produced directory containing information about U.S. farmers market locations, directions, operating times, product offerings, and accepted forms of payment. Supports local and regional food systems, as well as development of local economies.
Main Customers:
Consumers, Business, Community leaders

Name: List of Disaster Counties
Farm Service Agency list of Counties with a specific disaster designation.
Main Customers:
Producers, Farmers, Government, Media

Name: Office Information Profile System
USDA Service Centers are designed to be a single location where customers can access the services provided by the Farm Service Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the Rural Development agencies. This tool provides the address of a USDA Service Center and other Agency offices serving your area along with information on how to contact them.
Main Customers:
Government, Business, Public

Name: SNAP Retailer Locator information
Find a retailer welcomes Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Electronic Benefits Transaction (EBT) customers. Currently available as an interactive map with geocoded information available by download as a .CSV file. Locations updated monthly
Main Customers:

The following list includes high-value USDA service candidates to potentially be optimized for mobile use:

Name: Meat, Poultry and Egg Product Inspection Directory
The Meat, Poultry and Egg Product Inspection Directory is a listing of establishments that produce meat, poultry, and/or egg products regulated by USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) pursuant to the Federal Meat Inspection Act, the Poultry Products Inspection Act, and the Egg Products Inspection Act. Directory is updated monthly.
Main Customers:
Business, Industry, Government, Consumers

Name: USDA Newsroom
The USDA Newsroom holds official news releases, statements, transcripts and speeches released by the Department.
Main Customers:
Government, Public, Media

Name: USDA Blog
The Blog features content from all USDA agencies and features the latest news, events and features. The Blog also provides the public an opportunity to ask questions or share their thoughts about the latest issues.
Main Customers:
Government, Public, Media

Name: AmberWaves eZine
As the Economic Research Service’s (ERS) flagship publication, Amber Waves provides a window into ERS research through highly readable articles geared to educated but non-specialized audiences. Amber Waves covers important issues on U.S. markets & trade, diet & health, resources & environment, rural issues in easy to digest articles, with comprehensive links to ERS website for more details.
Main Customers:
Government, Media, Researchers, Education Institutions

Name: Office Information Profile System

Description: USDA Service Centers are designed to be a single location where customers can access the services provided by the Farm Service Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the Rural Development agencies. This tool provides the address of a USDA Service Center and other Agency offices serving your area along with information on how to contact them.
Main Customers:
Government, Business, Public

Please leave comments on regarding your choices on the USDA blog post.

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Opening Up Our Data

This entry is reposted from the HHS Digitalk Blog

Earlier this summer, the U.S. Chief Information Officer, Steven VanRoekel released the federal government’s new digital strategy which aims to shift the way government information is accessed and consumed. Instead of focusing on producing a final product, which has been common practice for years, the government will now be making content more accurate, available and secure. One major tool in the information technology tool box being used to achieve this goal is the use of Application Programming Interfaces (APIs).

An API is a set of tools for building software applications. But more importantly, an API makes information more accessible. This is important for two reasons.

First, the use of APIs makes it easier to replicate government information across more places than ever before. APIs enable automatic updates of information when content is syndicated on other websites, while reducing actual person hours currently spent manually updating content.

Second, APIs make information and data easily available to developers, who can create Web and mobile applications that make information increasingly more useful to the public. We have already seen the benefits of liberating vast amounts of data through the Department of Health and Human Service’s Open Government Health Data Initiative, hundreds of applications like My Cancer GenomeHealthGrades,Archimedes’ IndiGO, and the Healthy Communities Network which have been developed for individuals, communities and service providers. HHS has been liberating vast amounts of its data, many of which have APIs and are on

As the government changes the way it does business—making content and Web APIs the new default—government information and data will be more open, accessible and useful for the public. This strategy will open doors for communication and give everyone the opportunity to use government information in a more meaningful way.

Join the conversation: #digitalk Please leave your comments on the original HHS Blog post.


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Building-Blocks of a 21st Century Digital Government

Cover from report: Digital Government, Building a 21st Century Platform to Better Serve the American People, May 23, 2012Today marks three months since we released the Digital Government Strategy (PDF/ HTML5) – as part of thePresident’s directive to build a 21st Century Government that delivers better services to the American people.

Executing on this vision of government cannot happen alone. To provide the highest value of services, we must rethink from step one how government builds and provides services for the American people. We must unlock rich government data, information and services so that everyone from citizen developers and private sector entrepreneurs, to our very own Federal agencies can help provide the American people with the access to these services “anywhere, anytime, on any device.”

Today agencies are making great strides towards putting a solid foundation for a 21st Century Digital Government in place.

For example, the Census Bureau recently released its first mobile app, called “America’s Economy,” and just today released an iOS version. The app mashes up Census data with economic statistics from the Bureau of Economic Analysis and Bureau of Labor Statistics and provides the latest economic indicators that drive business hiring, sales, and production decisions throughout the nation in real time. Economists, planners, business owners, and the public can use the app to get a quick and easy snapshot of the health of the U.S. economy, look at trends, and receive notifications when indicators change. But as powerful as the app is, just as powerful is the way Census is releasing the underlying data through its first publicly available application programming interface (API).

The Census API, which pulls from the American Community Survey and the 2010 Census, has yielded an unprecedented level of interest from citizen developers. Over 800 external developers have already accessed the API since its release, and users have generated over 24 million data requests. And as an indication of how valuable and accessible this data is, it took only 24 hours for the first third-party app to be developed and we are excited to see the many more applications that will be developed using this data.

This is just one example of the power of unlocking rich government data sets and services to the public and is exactly what the Digital Government Strategy is trying to accomplish. But it is just the beginning.

Today, every major Federal agency is posting candidate data sets and services to open up over the next several months. While many focus on providing better services directly to the public, others focus on increasing internal government efficiencies to save taxpayer dollars. For example, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is planning to develop a mobile app for its revenue agents that will allow them to accept a paper check from a taxpayer, take a picture, and automatically deposit it for posting to the taxpayer’s account.

You can link to each of the agency lists via, and I encourage you to weigh in on which candidates you think are the highest value. There, you can also find links to other recent products of the Strategy aimed at providing agencies with the tools they need to be successful and scaling existing best practices across government:

  • A bring-your-own-device (BYOD) toolkit for agencies considering implementation of a BYOD program;
  • A report on how the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST) standards and guidelines are evolving to meet the challenge of mobile security;
  • Recommendations on how agencies can stand up effective digital services governance structures; and
  • Performance measurements tools that will help drive data-driven decision making around the Federal web space.

It’s been a busy three months, and I look forward to adding more building-blocks in the months ahead as we continue to deliver on the President’s vision of a more modern, efficient, and accessible government for the 21st Century.

Reposted from The White House Blog.

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Digital Strategy Milestones–What you need to know

The Digital Government Strategy empowers federal agencies to harness technology to improve service to the American people. The Digital Government Strategy empowers federal agencies to harness technology to improve service to the American people.

The Digital Government Strategy has “hit the ground running” and we want to make sure you have the up-to-date information on the August milestones. will host the tools and guidance for many of the deliverables from the Digital Strategy, and will coordinate training, host discussions, and provide agency case studies.

Right now you can:

We are building out resources to help support agencies:

  • Establish an agency–wide governance structure for developing and delivering digital services. (milestone 4.2)
  • Implement performance and customer satisfaction measuring tools on all .gov websites. (milestone 8.2)

On August 23rd OMB will issue governance guidance and the performance and customer satisfaction metrics guidance will be posted on
Agency MilestonesAgencies are hard at work engaging with their primary audiences to determine (by Aug. 23rd):

  • Two existing major customer-facing services that contain high-value data or content as first-move candidates to make compliant with new open data, content, and web API policy (milestone 2.1) , and
  • Two existing priority customer-facing services to optimize for mobile use. (milestone 7.1)

These services can be the same two for each milestone, or different, it’s up to you.
The Dept. of Commerce wrote a blog post asking for feedback on their priority services, and so did the EPA and Dept. of Education. Other agencies have hosted town halls / focus groups or used online engagement platforms.
Agencies are required to post a page at by today (Aug 16). Take a look at your agency’s page, where you’ll find agency information on the Digital Strategy milestones. The priority services your agency will select will be included here.

What else is your agency doing to meet the milestones? How do you think the Digital Strategy will change the way we work? What else can we do to help you and your agency meet the milestones of the Digital Government Strategy?

Reblogged from Digital Gov Blog.

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Introducing The API Webinar Series

You need resources, and we are here to help with an excellent new webinar series to jump start your agency’s digital gov efforts.

Application Programming Interfaces, or APIs, allow developers to get creative with an agency’s data—from making content mobile ready to innovative mashups. API’s are an important data element agencies need to address when implementing the Digital Gov Strategy. Today, we are introducing an API Webinar series to get you on your way to conquering them!

On Thursday, July 19 we will host API Webinar Series Part I: APIs for Dummies–an Introduction to APIs.


In this first installment of our API webinar series, experts from NASA and the CDC will explain what APIs are, why they are important, and how they are covered in the Digital Government Strategy. This webinar will be moderated by Gray Brooks, Senior API Strategist at GSA’s Digital Services Innovation Center.

What You’ll Learn

  • What an API is
  • API examples and practices from the private and public sectors
  • What the Digital Government Strategy says about APIs
  • How your agency can get started

When: Thursday, July 19, 10 a.m.-11a.m. EST

Sign up for this free and timely webinar and get ahead of the curve. Register now and sign up here for updates about future webinars in this series.

Reblogged from Mobile Gov Blog.

Posted in Blog, Events, Re-blogged | Tagged , , | Leave a comment Anytime, Anywhere, on Any Device

a desktop computer, tablet, and iphone all showing

The internet has changed and continues to change how the American public receives information and interacts with the government. At we are constantly adapting to the changing environment so we can use the most appropriate technology available to reach our diverse audiences. Recently, the federal government ushered us into this new era with the release of the Digital Government Strategy. A key element of the strategy is to allow for federal data and information to be shared anytime, anywhere, on any device.

Federal CIO Steve Van Roekel’s emphasis on making government “more efficient and able to adapt to inevitable changes in technology” typifies the ideals we have worked towards on the project. We were pleased to see that the Digital Government Strategy listed responsive web design as a new standard or solution for addressing the inevitable changes in technology that will occur. Responsive web design is a technique that allows content to adjust to the size of the device that accesses the information. Phones, tablets, desktop computers, TV’s, and video game consoles all have different capabilities related to how content is displayed. Using responsive web design, Federal services can be designed to meet the needs of a broad audience. For an example of responsive web design, look at the new on a smart phone and then on your desktop.

True to the principles of the Digital Government Strategy, as a project has incorporated more services that are optimized for mobile over the past few years. We launched in 2006, began podcasting and using social media in 2007 and 2008, released the HIV/AIDS Prevention and Service Provider Locator in 2009, launched a mobile website in 2010, and optimized additional services for mobile in 2011, including the Locator API.

While has built new services and worked to keep up with the rapidly changing mobile landscape, we have learned that there are no easy or one-size-fits-all solutions that address the multiplying complexity of technological progress. We have learned that there are principles that can be applied to projects to ensure that our content and data can be reused and repurposed, across social media, new platforms, and the ever expanding class of devices and platforms that can now access web-based information.

Responsive web design represents the best way for us to achieve the goal of future friendly web resources built for the HIV/AIDS community. Building responsively allows us to focus on the goal of ensuring any person, anywhere, in any situation and on any device can access basic HIV information, Federal HIV prevention resources and services, and the latest news on the Federal government’s response in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

Re-blogged from

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