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Open Government Essay

The U.S. and UK present data to people in all sorts of diverse ways. One way is through internet traffic going to their different websites. This paper will look at four different websites, two from the US and two from the UK, and compare and contrast how the data is presented. It will analyze the impact the data has on professional, ethical, legal, security, cultural or social issues and responsibilities. The basic design of the sites, the ease of use, and the type of data presented will also be taken into account. The overall goal will be to get an idea of how these two governments present information to the population they serve.

The first site web site is the WHITE HOUSE. When entering this site, the first thing the viewer will notice is the big weekly address topic panning through the top half of the page. This panning image with links to further information, changes with a few other topics of the day/week which also have links with photos/videos and more information. Another nice aspect is the lack of advertisement. This makes the site standout out as being very professional and important so the reader just focuses on the topics on the page instead of wondering off or getting distracted.

There are the typical tabs above the panning topic which allow the viewer to dive deeper into different categories that are offered which relate to the White House such as a Blog section, Photos & Video, Briefing Room, Issues, the Administration, White House, and Government. When scrolled over, a drop down menu shows up with more in dept subcategories for that tab. Under the panning topics, there is a featured topic, with a small picture and a brief description. The option to browse through different topics in this featured section is available. Also underneath the panning topic, taking up a smaller portion of the screen on the right, there is a search engine. When the viewer searches for a word or phrase it basically takes them to a Bing search page with all the results, but all the results are from the WHITE HOUSE website, whether they are articles, relevant posting or blogs, all tied to the website.

Scrolling further down the home page further, there’s links to several blog postings by White House correspondents, the White House schedule of events and featured legislation (the link actually takes you to the Bill) with the option to comment on pending legislation. Next to these on the right, there’s a place to create and sign petitions, the photo of the day, a spot to sign up for email alerts and a way to stay connected through Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Linkin, YouTube, etc. All these different avenues to venture down seem to be placed on the home page in accordance of relevance and popularity. Besides the panning topics, there seems to be a lot of emphases on the blog links. This site is easy to navigate through and there seems to be no wasted space or filler content and that the links all lead to topics of relevance and interest.

Basically this site was designed for viewers to get an overview of what is going on in and around the White House. Topics are focused on current events and informative blog postings with White House perspectives through the blog writers with a little bit of posts that aim to strike peoples interests. Links to any information about the government and its components and what they are working on is also readily available. This site seems to be well run and designed for what it was intended to due which is to get information out there that is informative and a little bit of entertainment all relative to what the White House and their people are doing.

The website Number 10 is the official site of the British Prime Minister’s Office. Like the WHITE HOUSE site, the main focus is a panning banner that has the top headlines rolling through and some tabs above to take the viewer to links on News, Policy, The Coalition, History & Tour, Transparency, and Take Part. There is also a search engine, but it looks to be run by the actual website itself. Under the panning topics taking up the majority of the screen, there’s a section, Policy by Department, with around 15 or so thumbnail pictures symbolizing different categories the viewer can click on from Afghanistan to business/economics to education to the environment, etc.

The thumbnails take the viewer to a different web page on the same site with an in depth look at the category selected. When the page is scrolled down past the policies section there’s the Take Part section and a Transparency Section. Both have links to go further into whatever subtopic is selected. To the right side of these sections, taking up a little less screen space, there is options set up to follow Number 10 through Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, and their own app. Also, instead of using the tabs above the panning topics for some categories, they have little sections down the side to click on. Near the bottom, there are three more sections which reference Real Time Energy Use, Meet the PM, and Budget 2012.

This was another website designed to give you information on want is going on in the government, more specifically, the Prime Minister’s office, like the WHITE HOUSE site for the UK. Focuses are on what they are doing and ways people can also contribute or “Take Part”. There also seems to be a theme of being open with their transparency section and the breakdown of energy use and the 2012 budget break down. The Number 10 site is also very user friendly and pretty self explanatory. Viewers can get their information with relative ease through the provided links.

All four of these sites the focal point is on government. The first two (the WHITE HOUSE, Number 10) concentrate more on the office of who running the specified country, while the latter two circle around a broader spectrum of the two governments, the Senate and the Parliament. It’s easy to see the difference between the first two sites and the last two sites. The first two are more tailored towards the President and Prime Minister and are definitely more interactive with videos and pictures, making them more alluring to the viewers. The Senate and Parliament look to be more standardized, especially the Senator site.


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