We sit down with a team trying to revamp the Peace Corps website, then we walk over to chat with another team that recently created a user-friendly analytics web page, analytics.usa.gov, that tracks which government websites are trending (a National Weather Service page usually tops the list). The goal here is to reveal how U.S. citizens use government websites, and to spark healthy competition among agencies to create more popular services.
In keeping with the tech corps’ guiding principles, everything is open source, so outsiders are free to adapt the program. And they do: A few weeks after the analytics website went live, Philadelphia used the program for its own analytics website, which the 18F team considered a measure of success. Thanks to their open-source code, they had improved government without doing any extra work.
The cool part is that the federal government is hiring nerds. The cooler part is that cities are using the technology that the federal government builds. It’d be nice to see New York City take advantage of this.