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January 27 2020 - by Nadia Spencer - Henry, Debt Manager, Ministry of Finance and Corporate Governance - Antigua & Barbuda, and CLP Alumna

Digital government is a big topic that is becoming more and more relevant to public servants and public services as a whole. Public services are more and more data-driven as public servants try to provide more citizen-centered service. The rate of digital transformation has radical implications for the type of service that can be delivered to citizens and for the future of the public service.

 

Last year, I was privileged to participate in an initiative launched by the World Bank for the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union titled ‘Digital Economy, Moonshot for the Eastern Caribbean’. Policymakers and technical teams from Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines attended the Conference. Representatives of the World Bank, the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB), the Eastern Caribbean Telecommunications Authority, the OECS Commission, as well as international companies also attended the conference.

 

The Conference focused on the simplest to the more complex challenges that the governments face if they are to span the digital divide between developing and developed nations. Further, the evidence was clear that while there is much to do, there is support available from the international community and private partners that could help to enhance the initiatives of developing states.

 

In this blog, I want us to start small - maybe not write your own app just yet or trade in Blockchain - just the fundamentals. Have you ever wandered on to your government’s website, trying to find the address for a government ministry and wondered what you were looking at or where to start? As a citizen, I would like a website that is easy to access and provides clear guidelines on how I can access a service or pay a tax. Even if I am not able to utilize the e-commerce platform, I just want to be able to find simple information.

 

According to the best portal practices, a website should be Responsive, Personalized, Transparent, Data-Driven and Engaged. By being responsive, the site should be able to render easily no matter the device or the size of the screen of the user. ‘Website personalization refers to the process of delivering tailored experiences to visitors based on their unique preferences, as oppose [sic] to providing a uniformed experience for all visitors on the site.’[1]By being Transparent, the site should be clear on policies that are being carried out by a Ministry or department and allow for greater accountability. ‘A data-driven website is a website that can easily be updated by the managers of the website.[2] The website provides new updates on content to users based on the data analyzed. Finally engaging means that the website or page should be attractive and inviting, with a simple layout that is easy to navigate.

 

If you contribute to a page or are responsible for updating information, please ensure the following:

 

  1. The site is user friendly. The format is easy to understand and documents can be displayed on a mobile device.
  2. The menu should be easy to follow, not too many links to confuse the user. The idea is to get users to the information as soon as possible.
  3. The links on the page are functional and carries the user to the intended information.
  4. The categorization of information should be clear and there should be a channel for interaction with citizens.
  5. The search button should be effective.
  6. The social media links should be connected to the main media site.
  7. Carry out a regular assessment of your site either by conducting a user survey on your site or using a mobile assessment tool like https://ready.mobi/.

 

 There are opportunities for great leadership everywhere. The possibilities are endless. 

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[1] https://www.emarsys.com/resources/blog/web-personalization/

[2] http://www.the-pixel.com/what-is-a-data-driven-website-how-can-a-data-driven-website-increase-revenue/

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Denise Knight - Reply

Good read. Interesting points. So many government websites need attention

Shruti - Reply

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