GOVTalks: Fall 2016 Recap

December 20, 2016

A record number of people signed up for the latest GOVTalks, held on Nov. 16, and attendees were treated to a variety of talks ranging from structured content and digital ecosystems to data and content.

Creating a Digital Ecosystem

GeorgiaGov Interactive Director, Nikhil Deshpande, discussed digital ecosystems, comparing ecosystems to our web interactions with users. We must focus on content and give users what they need, regardless of the device they are using.

Nikhil used the example of, which totally redesigned their site from an internal-based site to one focused on what veterans really needed. It’s not flashy; it just focuses on content.

We need to focus on citizens, not organizations, and design based on content because that’s what citizens are needing. It needs to be device agnostic, meaning it can be shared and displayed on any Internet-connected device, including the new screenless devices such as the Amazon Echo. To do this, we need to make content simple and structured.

To better understand the concept, Nikhil recently wrote a follow-up blog to his digital ecosystems talk. In his blog, he also discusses how digital ecosystems can fit into state and federal government.

Presentation Slides

Nikhil Deshpande — Creating a Digital Ecosystem

Presentation Video

Omni-Channel for Government: Delivery Through Data

Phase 2 Technology Director of Strategy, Jordan Hirsch, introduced Omni-channel. Omni-channel creates a common user experience for users no matter what device they are using. It’s not just about responsive design; it’s creating a user flow that will allow you to continue a transaction even though you may change devices. It bypasses inconsistent and irrelevant messaging.

Some organizations are using Omni-channel already; the city of Boston aggregates key data points across agencies into a daily score. They’ve also developed an app that uses vibration data from cars to find and fix potholes.

Presentation Slides

Jordan Hirsch — Omni-Channel for Government: Delivery Through Data

Presentation Video

Chunks vs. Blobs: The Value of Structured Content

GeorgiaGov Interactive Director of Product, Kendra Skeene, talked about how structured content can help us display, move and share information easier. She debuted the newly improved Location content type which now includes search, geolocation, and filtering by services offered; Locations gives this information to Google and Bing for better searchability. And thanks to the upgrades, specific Location information is displayed in an easy-to-read format on any device.

Learn more about the improved functionality of the Locations content type in Kendra’s most recent blog, Locations: Get a Mapping and Listing Upgrade.

She also introduced Columns for site pages and blog pages, which will allow you to add information in chunks to different parts of the page — related links, related files, images, videos and infographics — all in a responsive layout.

Presentation Slides

Kendra Skeene — Chunks vs. Blobs: The Value of Structured Content

Presentation Video

Turning Your Data Into Information

Solutions Architect, Johann Lohrmann, stressed that data visualization helps our minds focus on what matters, but it depends on how we present it and share it. Not every piece of data is actionable; it’s up to us to determine what is. GeorgiaGov Interactive now has a data visualization tool that will help you present and share that information.

Because data visualization relies heavily on seeing and interpreting information, Johann wrote a recap of his GOVTalks presentation, Turning Meaningless Data Into Meaningful Data. In the blog, he shows the importance of displaying data in the right way based on the type of data, what you are evaluating, and what answers you are looking to find.

Presentation Slides

Johann Lohrmann — Turning Your Data Into Information

Presentation Video

Panel Q&A

Before our final talk, our first four speakers took the stage to answer questions from the audience.

Panel Video

Getting the Most Out of Your Content

Content Strategist, April Lentini, talked about content strategy — what it is and what it supports. To build a content strategy, you need to know what your user goals are, and you use personas and empathy maps to find out those goals. April walked us through how to create personas and empathy maps, using her work with the Office of Consumer Protection as a guide.

Although April covered a plethora of topics regarding content strategy, her most recent blog is focused on creating user-centered content. She discusses the importance of creating personas and using an empathy map to dig deeper in the psyche of your users. Other topics discussed during April’s talk, will be covered in upcoming blogs on Content Do’s Don’ts and Content Strategy: Why Your Business Goals Should Come First.

Presentation Slides

April Lentini — Getting the Most Out of Your Content

Stay tuned for Spring 2017, where will be teaming up with our Enterprise Governance and Planning group to present a very special GOVTalks focusing on content and data strategy.

Photo Gallery

Peter Lee

About the Author

Peter Lee is the account manager for GeorgiaGov Interactive. He works with state agencies using the GeorgiaGov platform, helping them define their needs and building solutions to meet those needs.

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