What the Web Renewal Initiative (Canada.ca) is still missing

For those of you not familiar with what I am referring to, the Government of Canada (Goc) Web Renewal Initiative aims to streamline the GoC’s web presence through a single central website, Canada.ca .

What exactly does that mean?

Canada.ca features 15 user-centric themes based on the top information and tasks that visitors are looking for. The site is accessible and easy to use on any device. It offers a revamped and comprehensive media/news section with new features as well as an improved search function. Over a period of three years, approximately 1,500 individual websites will be brought together under Canada.ca to make it easier for Canadians to find information.” – Treasury Board Secretariat

Yes, you got that right, one portal website to serve as a starting point for all citizen needs that fall under federal jurisdiction.  This is by no means a new concept. Here it is fully implemented elsewhere across various jurisdictions:

Essentially the purpose here is to stop requiring Canadians to know what each department does, let alone the name of the department itself (especially in lieu of the constant name changes).

Instead, the aim is to shift the focus to the task they are trying to accomplish. In theory this is a great approach, however make no mistake, the work involved in the transition for the Government of Canada is tremendous and should not be underestimated.

Continue reading “What the Web Renewal Initiative (Canada.ca) is still missing”

Downsides to the global democratization and sharing of content

Beheading

I remember delivering a speech in 2008 during the early days of Twitter in which I mentioned to the audience that this platform may soon be the world’s largest sample of live human thought (good and evil) and also the world’s largest real-time conversation database. I heard a few chuckles. Back then Twitter was typically dismissed as some new time-wasting glorified chat where self-obsessed people shared what they were doing at any given moment (e.g. drinking coffee).  A typical reaction people had to Twitter was “who cares?”.

Save for the horrendous disservice that I think promoted tweets have done by contaminating raw data-sets with non-organic data (at least through re-tweets), I think my statement has materialized quite well over the years. Continue reading “Downsides to the global democratization and sharing of content”