DorobekInsider: How do you build a better Web site? One member of Congress tries crowdsourcing

Wednesday - 6/3/2009, 8:34am EDT

Rep. Mike Honda (D-CA) is looking to redesign his Web site. How does one go about doing that? Crowdsourcing.

Honda details the thinking behind it on his blog:

Recently, I announced the launch of a new pioneering project to improve civic engagement in Congress via crowdSPRING. I will be redesigning my website – using a technique called crowd-sourcing – to lead the way in making government sites more transparent and accessible to the public.

20090603 hondaThe project allows designers to mock up multiple layouts for consideration by you, my constituents. The final design will be chosen based on votes, design functionality, usability, and other criteria. I believe that this crowd-sourcing initiative will usher in a new era of government transparency. Many government websites have good content, but the content is often very hard to find. We are giving power to you, and democratizing the way we interact with the public.

My goal as your Member of Congress is to serve you first and foremost. This crowd-sourcing initiative ensures that I am meeting your needs on your terms by allowing an unprecedented level of access into the design process of a government website.

The purpose of the website redesign is to move America closer to Government 2.0, where the public’s ability to access and provide advice to Members of Congress is enhanced by new technology and new online participation. As many of you know, I am very active through Twitter, Facebook, and my blog. I intend to make my new site be an example for other member sites to follow. Congress must take advantage of Web 2.0 technologies, to transform the relationship between citizens and government. Instead of viewing the public as a customer for services, I believe that we should empower citizens to become our partners in shaping the future of our nation.

The project has gone live, you can view the entries by clicking here.

I would love to hear your comments about this initiative. You can leave them on my blog here.

I will be posting more information soon about the voting process once we begin recieving entries for consideration.

This has just launched, but… Find the specific details about this initiative here.

What a fascinating idea — and how fun will it be to watch this as it evolves.