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GSA Designing Next Generation of

Max Cacas | FederalNewsRadio and The Associated Press

October 14, 2009

In recent years, the web portal, USA.GOV has become one of the most popular destinations in the federal government’s web presence. But now, the site’s managers are plotting the “next generation” of the site, at a time when social collaboration tools are reshaping the way that people use the World Wide Web.

David McClure, associate administrator with the Office of Citizen Services at General Services Administration, says the key is to re-think away from a mere “web portal” to a more up-to-date view of USA.GOV:

GSA is thought of as the execution arm of many policies that come out of government. (USA.GOV) is wildly successful. It’s one of the top 25 websites in the country. You can go on this website, and citizens can find information about virtually everything in government. Over 100 million government webpages, searchable within 1/4 of a second. You’re looking at more than 15 million pageviews per month. This is an enoromous openness and transparency factor for government. We know that 40% of people who come to USA.GOV search for something. The strategy behind USA.GOV has been redirection, getting you where you want to go. I think we’re changing that, I think we want to move away from redirection to getting citizens to services and providing excellent service as soon as possible.

During the recent Excellence in Government conference, McClure sought to tell the story how USA.GOV was adjusting to the Obama Administration’s mantra of transparency and openness using the web tools now available.

This is the era of engagement, and GSA is working diligently to create a citizen engagement platform to help agencies determine how to engage citizens in a dialogue. How to get effective feedback to citizen services rendered in mission areas. This is not an area in which you can build something, and hope people will come. That’s been the dilemna assocated with new media products. We have to deliver something that’s of value. So we have a team that’s working on a new platform, a citizen engagement platform, that will have new tools, methods, processes, approaches, case studies, and examples, not only from the U.S. government, but from around the world, on how governments are engaging citizens in these very diverse cases.

McClure told the EIG audience that his agency, GSA, wants to be the home of “best practices” for the entire government when it comes to collaborative citizen-oriented web services. With that in mind, he says GSA is planning to launch, as part of a new ‘Center for Information Technology’, a series of pilot programs designed to encourage and foster creativity and innovation in the use of web-based tools for collaboration and information sharing.

On the Web: GSAUSA.GOV

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