Government Web sites honored for e-citizen services
- By Daniel Keegan
- Jul 18, 2000
A local, a state and a federal World Wide Web site were each honored last
week when the eCitizen Service Awards for best practices in electronic government
"We really focused on e-gov ideas that truly transform the way government
works," said Daniel Greenwood, one of four judges and a lecturer at the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology School of Architecture and Planning.
MIT and Andersen Consulting partnered to present the awards.
The judges chose the winners based on a variety of criteria, but focused
on sites' comprehensiveness, simplicity and ability to empower citizens
to conduct services by themselves, Greenwood said.
Boston's Web site (www.cityofboston.com) won in the local category because
"it is powerful in terms of the number of transactions it supports," Greenwood
said. Despite the city's complexity and size, Greenwood said, the site offers
services in a wide range of areas.
In contrast with Boston's site, the state winner focused its services
on one area. Virginia's Department of Motor Vehicles electronic services
site (www.dmv.state.va.us/dmvnet/online.asp) "homed in on this services
sliver of vehicle transactions," Greenwood said. "I can't think of a vehicle
transaction that you can't do on this site."
Greenwood was also impressed with Virginia's administration of personal
identification numbers: A person enters information and then the department
mails the identification number to the address of the license holder on
record. "Virginia just showed how simple and secure you can be," he said,
adding that complex security measures are often unnecessary.
The judges also awarded the District of Columbia Office of Tax and Revenue's
Electronic Taxpayer Service Center a Government Prototype award because
it showcases emerging thinking in e-government. The center is a state-of-the-art
facility where taxpayers can use public terminals to request tax information
or check on the status of their cases, with assistance provided by customer
The winning federal Web site was Greenwood's favorite. He said he was
"struck by how comprehensive" the Department of Housing and Urban Development's
Homes and Communities (www.hud.gov) site was. "They really knew why people
are going to their site and designed it for them."
He said it was well organized, providing consistent headers to direct
citizens and a variety of ways to find information such as by topic or
demographic group. And it was pretty. "It has nice colors," he said. "A
lot of these sites are just ugly."