While there’s a push for citizen ideas using collaboration tools, the trend towards open analytics should be just as important, because it exposes what information real users want and where the agency should focus more of its attention. This should be standard practice for all Web/IT departments, so making this information public is as simple as posting it to the agency blog.
Collecting ideas and opening public data is a great step, but understanding how citizens are using government Websites, whether they’re finding the information they need, and whether government is responding appropriately by making it easier to access is a much more large scale, proactive, real-time open government practice.
The New York State Senate releases a publicly available bi-weekly Web analytics report that highlights Web site traffic and activity. The report can be download in .doc or .xls format or viewed at the Senate’s Scribd account. The executive summary and granular analyses provides interesting trend information valuable to private citizens and other public agencies.
Here’s why this is important and why all agencies should do this:
- Forces your agency to actively evaluate and iterate Web and social media strategy.
- Shows the public you’re paying attention to user activity.
- Other agencies can glean information and leverage as strategy.
Here’s the New York State Senate’s most recent report: