Project 1: Enhancing the discoverability and accessibility of government information
Hyro Australia provided long and short term recommendations about how to make government information easier for citizens to find and use, including a whole of government search strategy, enforcing standardised metadata, adoption of the WCAG 2.0 accessibility guidelines, a more customer focused and coordinated approach to online service delivery and greater use of Creative Commons licenses.
When Hyro was commissioned to prepare a report canvassing options and opportunities for the Commonwealth government to improve the discoverability and accessibility of its (many) web sites, we had a good understanding of the myriad technical challenges to be addressed. But as with most transformation projects, technology wasn’t the significant barrier. Technology is, after all, (relatively) easy. The true challenge lay in understanding the real world operating environment in which technology has to perform, and the people and processes that would drive and sustain its operation.
The project kick-off coincided with a major Gov 2.0 conference in Canberra, which gave us some very useful insights into some of the challenges involved in deploying these kinds of initiatives. This was followed by conversations with a range of Taskforce stakeholders, many of whom had very deep experience with not only discoverability/accessibility technologies, but also the inner workings of government.
It was only once we had achieved this combination of perspectives – technical, ‘machinery of government’, and internal culture – that we were able to set about making both short- and longer-term recommendations for not only increasing the ease with which citizens and business can locate and access government services, but also make those services more citizen-centric and thus more relevant and usable.