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Delivering on Our Open Government Promise

by: Steven VanRoekel, Managing Director

April 4, 2011

[[wysiwyg_imageupload:92:height=100,width=66]]Look across the landscape of government websites, and you see a common phenomenon: a dot gov site at rest, stays at rest.

Our own FCC.gov is proof enough. What was hailed in the late 1990’s as one of the leading federal web sites has sprawled out over time, moving with the organizational changes of the FCC, but largely resisting the outside forces of technical evolution and consumer expectations.

The FCC wasn’t alone; across the government, agencies faced similar challenges: long, cumbersome procurements; lack of focus on the importance of this work; or simply an unwillingness to devote the resources needed to keep up.
 
Thankfully for this community -- and for every American citizen -- a strong force has been quickening the pace of change. The principles of “open government,” which urge federal agencies to embrace the inertia created by engaged citizens -- the real dot gov shareholders -- are helping to move these vital issues forward.
 
The new FCC.gov comes from you: the citizens who commented on our blog posts, who submitted suggestions on our citizen engagement platforms, who answered our surveys, and who use the site day in and day out to make American technology work. In his State of the Union Address, President Obama called on government to be “open and competent,” building off new skills and driven by new ideas. Our reimagined FCC.gov answers the President’s call, and delivers on our open government promise.
 
  • With the launch of the new FCC.gov, we’re proving that Washington can keep up with the speed of the Web, implementing today's tools with an eye to tomorrow's innovations. Some of the highlights include:
  • One voice of the FCC: Intuitive design and layout optimized for the everyday citizen who isn’t familiar with the FCC’s own organizational chart.
  • Top tasks: Surveys, testing, and analytics showed us what FCC.gov users do on our site. Those tasks now follow visitors throughout their FCC.gov experience in the “Take Action” bar.
  • Great search: A powerful shortcut to help users get in and get what they need. For business users, powerful search filters make finding documents easy. 
  • Tech-forward: Built in the cloud, and developed with open source software, the new FCC.gov lowers barriers to future development as part of a long-term IT cost-cutting strategy.
  • Feedback everywhere: Putting citizen skin in the game to make FCC.gov work better for users, and holding us accountable to continual improvement.
This beta launch isn’t a beta in a traditional sense. FCC.gov will change again -- and quickly. It’s an approach that’s fairly foreign to the way most agencies work on the Web. But we’ll build this new experience on a solid, future-ready platform; we’re taking a page from the online entreprenuer’s playbook, releasingproducts  quickly and often,  and letting the many eyes of the Web drive the continuous improvement we hope FCC.gov will come to embody.
 
The scope of the changes to FCC.gov will also expand over time. The FCC new media team is continuing an aggressive campaign of applying innovative tech and techniques to the FCC's legacy databases and systems. Many of these systems facilitate billions of dollars in transactions that are vital to American prosperity in a global, connected economy. We can use the lessons we learn from the new FCC.gov to simplify data collections, improve time to market, and facilitate transactions at the speed of 21st century technology.
 
Welcome to the reimagined FCC.gov. Leave your comments below -- or participate in our online engagement platforms -- and tell us how we can continue improving FCC.gov together.
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