Hi. I’m Earl Devaney, chairman of the Recovery Board.
In February 2009, Congress directed us to develop a user-friendly website so that you knew precisely what Recovery projects and programs were being funded and where they were.
On behalf of the Board, I want to let you know what we’ve been up to recently with that website, Recovery.gov.
Last fall, I spoke with you and described the Board’s development and launching of a new version of Recovery.gov.
We got a lot of praise and, frankly, some criticism.
We’ve always felt like this website was meant to be continuously evolving, and we embarked on an aggressive plan to ensure we were getting your feedback on our efforts.
What we’ve heard is that you want even more transparency and easier accessibility to the Recovery data submitted by the recipients.
With that in mind, the Board is unveiling a number of new features this week that will hopefully make your experience on Recovery.gov a lot more meaningful.
To start, we’ve redesigned the home page. We’ve kept many of our existing features but the home page looks a little different.
For example, at the top left-hand corner of the home page, there’s a navigational tab entitled, “Looking For.’’
That is something we’re calling our “Audience Segmentation’’ feature, which will make it easier for you to navigate our website.
We think you’ll like it and here’s why:
When you click on this tab, a dropdown display appears with icons representing particular user groups, such as “An interested citizen,’’ “A data user,’’ or “A member of the press.’’
From there, you’ll be able to easily get to where you really want to go.
Let’s say you click on interested citizen. That takes you to a page specifically designed for citizens.
The display provides easy access to job searches, data on awards, projects that might be in your own neighborhood, and a lot of other really interesting information on the Recovery program.
We also have a new feature story carousel at the top of the home page.
Click on a picture and you get the detailed description about a Recovery project or program. Some may very well be in your own area, but all of them tell a real story about how your tax dollars are being used.
We also have a new Map Gallery accessible from the home page.
This permits you to see all the maps on Recovery.gov from one page.
This month, our feature map in the gallery is the work of Edward Tufte, the renowned visual expert often described as the “the da Vinci of data.’’
Mr. Tufte has put together a “Lights-on Map’’ allowing you to see, by a progression of lights on a U.S. map, the growth of Recovery projects—from February 2009, when the program began, up to the most recent reporting period.
For social media buffs, there’s quick access on the home page to our social media sites, including our new Recovery Blog.
Our new blog is meant to give you a voice in what we’re doing.
It will be a forum for your thoughts, comments, and suggestions.
It will also give you an inside look at the Board and its staff, answer your questions, and clear up any misconceptions you have about the Recovery program.
We’ve expanded our job search. You can now click on Job Search and search your own state website for jobs and employment information.
Our new Developer Center includes devices called “widgets,” which allow you to grab data from Recovery.gov and embed it on your own webpage, blog, or social media site.
Here’s an example:
If you want to see projects by congressional district, go to the Developer Center and click on the congressional district widget. That widget is yours to take if you want.
There’s more, but you get the picture—we’ve made substantial changes, all with you in mind.
I’ll keep you posted as we develop other new features on Recovery.gov.
Let us know what you think. We value your opinion. Have a great day.