Thursday, August 11, 2011

36 Hours With NYC.GOV

I can't stop repeating myself that we are living in exciting, inventive times. The innovation, modernizatin and innovation happens in front of our eyes and even before we think of it. We then digest it as something that we can call "Ah, that would change the way we live and work"... Every day we are given the power to invent.

This is exactly the power that was given to the website developers across the USA - about 75 of whom from across the country (and at least one from Canada) responded to the offer by New York City Chief Digital Officer Rachel Sterne to spend 36 hours of last weekend envisioning a better can follow Sterne on Twitter @RachelSterne or follow the City @nycgov).

The city’s first ever hackathon - I'm loving this word! - offered little incentive: there were no cash prizes, no iPad giveaways, and the city has not committed to using any of the designs to replace the website it launched in 1996 and last redesigned more than five years ago. 

Five of 14 teams whose designs were chosen by judges for various honors will be thanked personally by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The goal of this project is "to bridge the worlds of government and technology and having a dialog". Besides, it's always curious to see what people truly want.

So what do people want? Most of the winning designs’ homepages focus on search, mirroring Bing and Google. Sterne saw: StackOverflow-like forums that encourage users to help each other, as well as gamification, location and social elements. In other words, these are the trends you’d expect from coders working with APIs from Google,, Foursquare and other popular web services. 

New York City also introduced two new APIs at the event: one that works with 311 and another that constantly updates apps that use the city’s more than 400 open data sets with the latest changes.

So, here is how the site looks right now.

And here are the five winning designs suggested to replace the current site. All others are here.

NYC.GOV goes SOCIAL all the way here.

Change by Us NYC is a place to share ideas, create projects, discover resources, and make our city better.
What changes would you like to see on your city’s government website?

Follow NYC.GOV on Twitter @nycgov.

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