This year promises to be a big one for those working in digital government. Transforming our government into a 21st century one has long been a priority of the Obama administration, and digital technology is a major component of that goal. With only two years left in his term, President Obama is gearing up to make significant changes in a short amount of time.
With this in mind, Corner Alliance is predicting which digital trends will triumph in 2015:
Responsive Web design. Mobile is quickly becoming king. Just look at the numbers. According to the Pew Research Center, as of January 2014, 58 percent of American adults have a smartphone. More than 60 percent of adults are using their mobile devices to access information online and a full third of these users are more likely to use their phones than computers to access the Internet.
Government agencies realize this is a crucial market they must keep up with. The first step to cornering the mobile market is to transition websites into a format that can adapt to any device—computer, tablet or smartphone. Known as “responsive design,” this concept is gaining ground among government agencies and industry leaders. In 2014, we saw nearly 19 percent of websites adopt a responsive design format. More and more federal agencies will follow suit and make responsive design a priority in 2015.
Expanded social media portfolios. At this point, most large federal departments and agencies have the standard toolkit of social media platforms—Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. But did you know that the General Services Administration has negotiated Terms of Service with 75 different platforms for federal use? In 2015, federal agencies—large and small—will take advantage of more of these tools, like Instagram, Pinterest and Thunderclap, to connect with new audiences.
Focus on customer service and crowdsourcing. President Obama once said, “I want us to ask ourselves every day, how are we using technology to make a real difference in people’s lives.” Government agencies have taken this concept to heart and are striving to make changes in two major ways—providing better customer service and working with the larger community to improve government services and programs. In support of these efforts, GSA will release a Public Participation Playbook to guide agencies on how to engage with and support the public. Additionally, look for more agencies to share their data with the public and pursue crowdsourcing platforms like IdeaScale to spur research and new projects.
A different approach to metrics. Metrics are an integral part of any successful digital strategy, but there’s always the danger that the numbers don’t reflect the reality. Just because a tweet was retweeted 30 times doesn’t mean followers actually clicked on the link or engaged with the content further. In 2015, agencies will move beyond the numbers and look at how the metrics translate into actual impact. Being able to analyze which content produced the greatest impact will help government communicators create more targeted, engaging content.
What is your agency doing with digital in 2015? Share your thoughts in the comments section or contact me on Twitter at @LGBackhaus.
Lindsay Backhaus is a senior consultant at Corner Alliance with extensive experience in strategic communications.