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United States

Reconstitution of the USA.gov (US0053)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: United States Action Plan 2015-2017

Action Plan Cycle: 2015

Status: Inactive

Institutions

Lead Institution: General Services Administration

Support Institution(s): NA

Policy Areas

E-Government

IRM Review

IRM Report: United States End-of-Term IRM Report 2015-2017, United States Mid-Term Report 2015-2017

Starred: No

Early Results: Marginal

Design i

Verifiable: No

Relevant to OGP Values: Access to Information Technology

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

For a government to truly be open, the public must be able to find information about government activities and services. Established by the e-Government Act of 2002 as the official web portal of the U.S. Government, USA.gov has a long history of connecting millions of citizens to the government information and services they need. Recently re-launched to be more responsive to users, USA.gov has become a more efficient and adaptive publishing platform for Federal, state, and local governments. Going forward, the General Services Administration will implement additional user-centered enhancements, including delivering enhanced content, and will work with agencies to help the public identify and receive services they need based on their own goals rather than government structure.

IRM Midterm Status Summary

IRM End of Term Status Summary

Commitment Text:

Reconstitute USA.gov as the Front Door to the U.S. Government

For a government to truly be open, the public must be able to find information about government activities and services. Established by the e-Government Act of 2002 as the official web portal of the U.S. Government, USA.gov has a long history of connecting millions of citizens to the government information and services they need. Recently re-launched to be more responsive to users, USA.gov has become a more efficient and adaptive publishing platform for Federal, state, and local governments. Going forward, the General Services Administration will implement additional user-centered enhancements, including delivering enhanced content, and will work with agencies to help the public identify and receive services they need based on their own goals rather than government structure.

Responsible Institution: General Services Administration

Supporting Institution: Not Specified

Start Date: Not Specified  End Date: Not Specified

Commitment Aim

This commitment aimed to transform USA.gov into a more user-friendly web portal by implementing “user-centered enhancements” and “enhanced content.” The government anticipated these improvements would make information about government activities and services easier for the public to access. At its core, the commitment sought to design USA.gov based on the public’s—rather than the government’s—needs.

Status

Midterm: Substantial

As described in the IRM progress report, the government had made substantial progress on this commitment at the midterm.

Specifically, in late 2015, the General Services Administration (GSA) initiated efforts to make USA.gov more user friendly. These efforts were known as the Federal Front Door initiative.[1] The initiative entailed interviews with 64 members of the public to better understand how they access information on government and the challenges they face when doing so.[2] The government summarized the findings from this initiative in a series of blog posts on blog.USA.gov[3] and in a final summary report.[4] Blog.USA.gov was created in late 2015[5] to publicize updates to USA.gov.

During this same time period, the government launched vote.USA.gov[6] to facilitate access to voter registration information. In early 2016, the government created a new landing page for USA.gov with Spanish-language functionality.[7] In June 2016, the GSA announced in a blog post that the Business.USA.gov website would be merged into USA.gov to streamline access to information on establishing a business in the United States.[8] These activities are nevertheless tangential to the commitment’s goal of implementing user-centered enhancements to USA.gov.

At the midterm, Business.USA.gov had not yet been merged into the broader USA.gov website, and the commitment’s overarching aim of making USA.gov more user friendly remained incomplete.

End of term: Complete

This commitment is complete. In a blog post from 10 January 2017,[9] the General Services Administration (GSA) announced a redesign of the USA.gov and Gobierno.USA.gov homepages. The post does not reference the Federal Front Door initiative. However, it indicates that the redesign was informed by usability testing and aims to “make it easier for the public to get answers to . . . top government questions.”[10] Among other features, the redesigned website contains a What’s New section, intended to facilitate access to new features. It also contains more streamlined homepage content.[11]

In a blog post from 27 September 2016, the GSA similarly announced a redesign of vote.usa.gov. This redesign resulted in the implementation of full Spanish-language functionality for that site, a streamlined homepage, and a visual design aligned with US Web Design Standards (see Commitment 2).[12]

By the end of the action plan, Business.USA.gov had also been merged into the Small Business section of USA.gov, and no longer functions as a stand-alone website.[13] As described above and in the progress report, this transition was announced in a USA.gov blog post on 29 June 2016 and was executed in August 2017.[14]

Lastly, using publicly available information, the IRM researcher could not ascertain whether the USA.gov Contact Center regularly held monthly listening sessions for digital managers and designers. The government’s midterm self-assessment report described such sessions in the context of this commitment.[15] However, as these sessions are tangential to the core of the commitment, the IRM researcher did not consider them when assessing completion.

Did It Open Government?

Access to Information: Marginal

This commitment is complete. However, the improvements to USA.gov, Gobierno.USA.gov, and vote.USA.gov marginally opened government regarding access to information. They largely addressed cosmetic changes (e.g., homepage redesigns), as opposed to an increase in website content or a navigational redesign of the entire website. The IRM researcher could not assess whether the activities carried out under this commitment resulted in more user traffic to USA.gov. The IRM researcher also could not assess how many unique users consulted the USA.gov blog post announcing the redesign. This was due to the lack of available traffic data for USA.gov and Gobierno.USA.gov. Nonetheless, the minor web changes alone would not be expected to significantly increase traffic, just as they do not represent significant changes in government practice.

Carried Forward?

The fourth US action plan has not yet been published (as of early 2018). Some actions could justify this commitment being carried forward. The government could significantly increase the amount of information available and involve the public in the redesign beyond consultation through GitHub. It could also establish new channels of communication with the public. Otherwise, further improvements to USA.gov do not need to be included in the OGP action plan. The government should nevertheless continue to implement updates to USA.gov and Gobierno.USA.gov on an as-needed basis to facilitate the public’s ability to access information on government activities and services.

 

[1] Federal Front Door, https://labs.usa.gov/, consulted 2 October 2017.

[2] For confirmation of the number of interviews and details of the discovery process, see US General Services Administration, Expectations and Challenges: Informing the Future of the Federal Front Door, March 2016, https://labs.usa.gov/files/FFD_ResearchReport.pdf, consulted 2 October 2017. For interview numbers, see p. 6.

[3] See, for example, Colin MacArthur, Carolyn Dew, and Michelle Chronister, “Learning How to Build a Better ‘Front Door’ for the Federal Government,” Blog.USA.gov, 8 December 2015, https://blog.usa.gov/learning-how-to-build-a-better-front-door-for-the-federal-government, consulted 2 October 2017. For another such post, see Colin MacArthur, Carolyn Dew, Michelle Chronister, and John Yuda, “Informing the Future of the Federal Front Door,” Blog.USA.gov, 26 February 2016, https://blog.usa.gov/informing-the-future-of-the-federal-front-door, consulted 2 October 2017.

[4] US General Services Administration, Expectations and Challenges: Informing the Future of the Federal Front Door, March 2016, https://labs.usa.gov/files/FFD_ResearchReport.pdf, consulted 2 October 2017.

[5] Sarah Crane, “Introducing the USAGov Blog,” Blog.USA.gov, 20 October 2015, https://blog.usa.gov/introducing-the-usagov-blog, consulted 2 October 2017.

[6] Sarah Crane, “USA.gov Launches vote.USA.gov to Help Citizens Register to Vote,” Blog.USA.gov, 2 October 2015, https://blog.usa.gov/usa-gov-launches-vote-usa-gov-to-help-citizens-register-to-vote, consulted 2 October 2017.

[7] Please see the web archives for http://www.USA.gov/explore, available at http://bit.ly/2Eah4IS.

[8] Ryan Edelstein, “Joining Forces with BusinessUSA to Better Serve Our Nation's Businesses,” Blog.USA.gov, 29 June 2016, https://blog.usa.gov/joining-forces-with-businessusa-to-better-serve-our-nation-s-businesses, consulted 2 October 2017. See also United States of America, Midterm Self-Assessment Report for the Open Government Partnership: Third Open Government National Action Plan, 2015-2017, September 2016, 4, https://www.opengovpartnership.org/wp-content/uploads/2001/01/USA_NAP3_self-assessment-report_20160916.pdf, consulted 2 October 2017.

[9] Maria Marrero, “Introducing the New USA.gov and GobiernoUSA.gov Home Pages,” Blog.USA.gov, 10 January 2017, https://blog.usa.gov/introducing-the-new-usa-gov-and-gobiernousa-gov-home-pages, consulted 5 September 2017. The IRM researcher was unable to ascertain the precise implementation date using publicly available information.

[10] Ibid.

[11] Ibid.

[12] Yoz Grahame, “The New Vote.gov: Leaner, Faster and Multi-Lingual,” USA.Gov Blog, 26 September 2016, https://blog.usa.gov/the-new-vote-gov-leaner%2C-faster-and-multi-lingual, consulted 5 September 2017.

[13] See https://bit.ly/2vZk9zu, consulted 5 September 2017.

[14] Ryan Edelstein, “Joining Forces with BusinessUSA to Better Serve Our Nation's Businesses,” USA.Gov Blog, 29 June 2016, https://blog.usa.gov/joining-forces-with-businessusa-to-better-serve-our-nation-s-businesses, consulted 5 September 2017. The web archives of Business.USA.gov from 1 August (available at http://bit.ly/2EeSQVq) and 31 August (available at http://bit.ly/2BQZWhs) show that the change was made in August 2017.

[15] United States of America, Midterm Self-Assessment Report for the Open Government Partnership: Third Open Government National Action Plan, 2015-2017, September 2016, 4, https://www.opengovpartnership.org/wp-content/uploads/2001/01/USA_NAP3_self-assessment-report_20160916.pdf, consulted 2 October 2017.


United States's Commitments

  1. Federal Data Strategy

    US0105, 2019, E-Government

  2. Grants Accountability

    US0106, 2019, E-Government

  3. Public Access to Federally Funded Research

    US0107, 2019, E-Government

  4. Workforce Data Standards

    US0108, 2019, E-Government

  5. Chief Data Officers

    US0109, 2019, Capacity Building

  6. Open Data for Public Health

    US0110, 2019, E-Government

  7. Enterprise Objective

    US0111, 2019, Capacity Building

  8. Developing Future Action Plans

    US0112, 2019, OGP

  9. Reconstitution of the USA.gov

    US0053, 2015, E-Government

  10. Accessibility of Government Information Online

    US0054, 2015, Marginalized Communities

  11. Access to Educational Resources

    US0055, 2015, Open Data

  12. Public Listing of Every Address in the US

    US0056, 2015, Open Data

  13. Informed Decisions About Higher Education.

    US0057, 2015, Open Data

  14. New Authentication Tools to Protect Individual Privacy and Ensure That Personal Records Go Only to the Intended Recipients.

    US0058, 2015, Public Service Delivery

  15. Transparency of Open311

    US0059, 2015, E-Government

  16. Support Medicine Research Throught Opening up Relevant Data of the Field

    US0060, 2015, Health

  17. Access to Workforce Data

    US0061, 2015, Open Data

  18. Using Evidence and Concrete Data to Improve Public Service Delivery

    US0062, 2015, Capacity Building

  19. Expand Use of the Federal Infrastructure Permitting Dashboard

    US0063, 2015,

  20. Consolidation of Import and Export Systems

    US0064, 2015, E-Government

  21. Improving Government Records

    US0065, 2015, Open Data

  22. Starred commitment Ammendments to FOIA

    US0066, 2015, Open Data

  23. Streamline the Declassification Process

    US0067, 2015, Capacity Building

  24. Implement the Controlled Unclassified Information Program

    US0068, 2015, Open Data

  25. Transparency of Privacy Programs and Practices

    US0069, 2015, Capacity Building

  26. Transparency of Federal Use of Investigative Technologies

    US0070, 2015, E-Government

  27. Increase Transparency of the Intelligence Community

    US0071, 2015, Capacity Building

  28. Open Science Through Open Data

    US0072, 2015, Open Data

  29. Open Data Portal

    US0073, 2015, E-Government

  30. Increase Transparency of Trade Policy and Negotiations

    US0074, 2015, E-Government

  31. Develop a Machine Readable Government Organizational Chart

    US0075, 2015, E-Government

  32. Improving Public Participation

    US0076, 2015, Public Participation

  33. Expand Public Participation in the Development of Regulations

    US0077, 2015, Public Participation

  34. Civic Engagement in Decision-Making Processes

    US0078, 2015, Public Participation

  35. Open Mapping

    US0079, 2015, E-Government

  36. Tracking OGP Implementation

    US0080, 2015, OGP

  37. Strengthening Whistleblower Protection

    US0081, 2015, Capacity Building

  38. Transparency of Legal Entities

    US0082, 2015, Beneficial Ownership

  39. Extractive Industries Transparency

    US0083, 2015, Extractive Industries

  40. Spending Transparency

    US0084, 2015, E-Government

  41. Enhance the Use of U.S. Foreign Assistance Information

    US0085, 2015, Aid

  42. Participatory Budgets and Responsive Spending

    US0086, 2015, Participation in Budget Processes

  43. Expand Access to Justice to Promote Federal Programs

    US0087, 2015, E-Government

  44. Build Safer Communities with Police Open Data

    US0088, 2015, E-Government

  45. Open Federal Data to Benefit Local Communities

    US0089, 2015, E-Government

  46. Support the Municipal Data Network

    US0090, 2015, E-Government

  47. Foster Data Ecosystems

    US0091, 2015, Capacity Building

  48. Extend Digital, Data-Driven Government to Federal Government’S Support for Communities

    US0092, 2015, Capacity Building

  49. Promote Implementation of SDGs

    US0093, 2015, Open Data

  50. Starred commitment Promote Open Climate Data

    US0094, 2015, E-Government

  51. Air Quality Data Available

    US0095, 2015, E-Government

  52. Promote Food Security and Data Sharing for Agriculture and Nutrition

    US0096, 2015, Capacity Building

  53. Promote Data Sharing About Global Preparedness for Epidemic Threats

    US0097, 2015, Capacity Building

  54. Promote Global Interconnectivity

    US0098, 2015, Aid

  55. Open Contracting

    US0099, 2015, Capacity Building

  56. Harness the Data Revolution for Sustainable Development

    US0100, 2015, OGP

  57. Open Government to Support Global Sustainable Development

    US0101, 2015, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  58. Open Collaboration Onf the Arctic

    US0102, 2015, Environment and Climate

  59. Support Capacity Building for Extractives Transparency

    US0103, 2015, Capacity Building

  60. Support Responsible Investment and Business Practices for Companies

    US0104, 2015, Private Sector

  61. Improve Public Participation in Government

    US0027, 2013, Capacity Building

  62. Modernize Management of Government Records

    US0028, 2013, Records Management

  63. Modernize the Freedom of Information Act

    US0029, 2013, Capacity Building

  64. Transform the Security Classification System

    US0030, 2013, Records Management

  65. Implement the Controlled Unclassified Information Program

    US0031, 2013, Security

  66. Increase Transparency of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Activities

    US0032, 2013, E-Government

  67. Make Privacy Compliance Information More Accessible

    US0033, 2013, E-Government

  68. Support and Improve Agency Implementation of Open Government Plans

    US0034, 2013, OGP

  69. Strengthen and Expand Whistleblower Protections for Government Personnel

    US0035, 2013, Capacity Building

  70. Increase Transparency of Legal Entities Formed in the United States

    US0036, 2013, Legislation & Regulation

  71. Starred commitment Implement the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative

    US0037, 2013, Environment and Climate

  72. Make Fossil Fuel Subsidies More Transparent

    US0038, 2013, Extractive Industries

  73. Starred commitment Increase Transparency in Spending

    US0039, 2013, Fiscal Transparency

  74. Increase Transparency of Foreign Assistance

    US0040, 2013, Aid

  75. Continue to Improve Performance.Gov

    US0041, 2013, E-Government

  76. Consolidate Import and Export Systems to Curb Corruption

    US0042, 2013, Private Sector

  77. Promote Public Participation in Community Spending Decisions

    US0043, 2013, Infrastructure & Transport

  78. Expand Visa Sanctions to Combat Corruption

    US0044, 2013, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  79. Further Expand Public Participation in the Development of Regulations

    US0045, 2013, Capacity Building

  80. Open Data to the Public

    US0046, 2013, E-Government

  81. Continue to Pilot Expert Networking Platforms

    US0047, 2013, Public Participation

  82. Reform Government Websites

    US0048, 2013, E-Government

  83. Promote Innovation Through Collaboration and Harness the Ingenuity of the American Public

    US0049, 2013, Capacity Building

  84. Promote Open Education to Increase Awareness and Engagement

    US0050, 2013, E-Government

  85. Deliver Government Services More Effectively Through Information Technology

    US0051, 2013, E-Government

  86. Increase Transparency in Spending

    US0052, 2013, E-Government

  87. Reform Records Management

    US0001, 2011, Records Management

  88. Lead a Multi-Agency Effort

    US0002, 2011, Capacity Building

  89. Monitor Agency Implementation of Plans

    US0003, 2011, OGP

  90. Provide Enforcement and Compliance Data Online

    US0004, 2011, Environment and Climate

  91. Advocate for Legislation Requiring Meaningful Disclosure

    US0005, 2011, Legislation & Regulation

  92. Apply Lessons from Recovery Act to Increate Spending Transparency

    US0006, 2011, Fiscal Transparency

  93. Government-Wide Reporting Requirements for Foreign Aid

    US0007, 2011, Aid

  94. Use Performanc.Gov to Improve Government Performance and Accountability

    US0008, 2011, Public Service Delivery

  95. Overhaul the Public Participation Interface on Regulations.Gov

    US0009, 2011, Legislation & Regulation

  96. Launch Expertnet

    US0010, 2011, E-Government

  97. Launch International Space Apps Competition

    US0011, 2011, E-Government

  98. Launch “We the People”

    US0012, 2011,

  99. Open Source “We the People”

    US0013, 2011,

  100. Develop Best Practices and Metrics for Public Participation

    US0014, 2011, Capacity Building

  101. Professionalize the FOIA Administration

    US0015, 2011, Right to Information

  102. Harness the Power of Technology

    US0016, 2011, Right to Information

  103. Advocate for Legislation on Whistleblower Protection

    US0017, 2011, E-Government

  104. Explore Executive Authority to Protect Whistleblowers

    US0018, 2011, Legislation & Regulation

  105. Implement the EITI

    US0019, 2011, Extractive Industries

  106. Partnership to Build on Recent Progress

    US0020, 2011, Extractive Industries

  107. Promote Data.Gov to Spur Innovation Through Open Sourcing

    US0021, 2011, Open Data

  108. Data.Gov: Foster Communities on Data.Gov

    US0022, 2011, Education

  109. Begin Online National Dialogue with the American Public

    US0023, 2011, Public Participation

  110. Update Government-Wide Policies for Websites

    US0024, 2011,

  111. Promote Smart Disclosure to Ensure Timely Release of Information

    US0025, 2011, Capacity Building

  112. Publish Guidelines on Scientific Data

    US0026, 2011, Capacity Building