11.06.2008

A Change Will Do You Good: Change.Gov

In keeping with a far-reaching online campaign, President-Elect Barack Obama's team hasn't skipped a beat and launched Change.Gov, the official site of the Office of the President-Elect. It's not a place holder. The web site has everything a good website has to offer: content, interactive features and an easy-to-use design.

I just have to say I expect big things from President-Elect Obama and how using social media will evolve the relationship between Americans and their President. The president's weekly radio addresses can now be downloadable podcasts, press conferences can be streamed live, foreign policy junkies can follow negotiations via twitter, the new First Dog can have its own web page (actually, that already exists. See Barney.) and we can all attend online events through Facebook. Pretty soon it's going to be hard for constituents to not be engaged in important legislative actions. This is what Obama's campaign was all about- change in the form of building community online and off.

Let's take a look at how the transition web site is going to facilitate more community building:

Content
What do you want to know? Joe's bio- check. Issues Agenda - check. Acceptance speech embedded video - check. Blog - check. Can you imagine a potential blog name, "The First Blogger"?

One thing I noticed is that some content is replicated across pages- the blog and newsroom are currently one in the same. And, while most pages currently have content, the press room does not yet have information posted for reporters.

Interactive Features

Watch the speech, sign up for updates and apply for a job. Apply for a job? Yep, there is an Expression of Interest form, fill it out and later you'll get an email with a more complete form to fill out. Not to sound like a skeptic, but we need to wait and see if this is window dressing.

And there's a page where every American can tell their story. The government is clearly going to need to expand server capacity... My favorite feature? The little line at the top left that has a countdown: 75 days until inauguration.


Usability

While it lacks the graphic splash of the campaign web site, we'll cut them some slack here they got this up in 24 hours, it is very easy for users to navigate.The toolbar across the top is easy to understand, the drop down menus are helpful and, repeat here, thanks to a large-enough font size, I do not have to worry about going blind while reading the content.

What's missing?
Not a whole lot, but to be fair let's serve up a little feedback here- comments features are not yet enabled on the blog and, as well all know, it's not a blog if you don't allow comments. Well cut The First Blogger a break by recognizing that it would take a small corps of online community managers to manage the flood of comments he would received on a daily basis.

We know it's early, but Mr. O. was a prolific twitter (followed 124K+, followers 120K+) and text user during the campaign, we still do not see that capability yet. How fun would it be to get messages like "@rahmmie ordered the fries again. I am so tired of PBR." Important stuff like that to keep us filled in on the transition...

And when will the Facebook page be up? Step it up pal! ;-)

I'll follow the site and keep you posted. In the meantime, in case you want to watch it again, here is "The Speech.



Happy Thursday!
-I Can't Keep Up