November 20, 2006

Delaware uses voicexml to create phone state portal

Filed under: Government — kirk @ 8:47 am

The Access Delaware Project is an initiative of the Delaware Department of Technology and Information (DTI) that is focused on providing alternative mechanisms for Delaware agencies to deliver information and services to citizens. Ultimately, the goal of this Project is to build up a portfolio of voice applications that are available through a single toll free number — this menu of applications will be the VoiceXML equivalent to the State’s Portal.

You can read more on it and how voicexml works, here at Delaware’s site

November 18, 2006

Why Web collaborations fail

Filed under: Collaboration — kirk @ 12:02 pm

This is a rather long post, but I feel it’s an important first post. I’ll be refering back to this list from time to time.

Before you can begin to talk about sharing information between government agencies, non-government organizations and commercial interests, I think it’s important to briefly consider why most Web collaborations fail (or fail to live up to their full potential).

Here is my short list:

Organizations will not take time to enter data on your Web site

I’ve seen more than one site developed that was meant to be a clearinghouse for information. With few exceptions, these clearinghouses assume that organizations will go to the Web site, log on, and enter the appropriate information. This won’t happen. If you’re the information officer for a small organization, you barely have the resources to get information on your own Web site — let alone update content on someone else’s site.

Sites should be able to pull information from your site without going to your site.

Your collaborative site must do more than passively present data that it has collected. It must be capable of providing real dynamic access to data for others to use. This allows your collaborating partners to pull data from your site back to their site…getting the added value of your collaboration. Jon Udell, in this week’s InfoWorld, has a great column on how Web sites should provide access to data.

If your collaboration strategy won’t help an organization with their Web site, then they won’t help you with your’s.

Even if you are able to dynamically pull information from an organization’s site, what guarantee do you have that they will continue to provide information in an accessible format? Unless it is in their interest to do so, you have no such guarantee.

If your site can provide tools to small organizations to help them with their Web content, then you stand a better chance of success. If you need news RSS feeds from an organization, show them how they can build a news system into their site. Provide them code or show them the many open source or free hosted solutions out there.

The existence of your Web site should be handy but not essential.

Organizational priorities come and go. Support of collaborative sites often are the first casualties since, by definition, much of the purpose and content of the site falls outside the core interests of an organization. When building a collaborative structure for Web projects, look to the structure of the Internet itself for inspiration. The protocol for data ’sharing’ on the Internet is not centralized and depends on no single source for its function. If you build a collaborative environment of Web sites sharing data with each other, that collaborative environment is no longer dependent on the existence of any single Web site.

Don’t make your strategy depend on one programming language, platform or software company.

This should be self-evident. No collaboration will ever succeed if it requires organizations to abandon investments they’ve made in programming languages or Web environments. Collaboration must leverage those investments.

Standardize on information protocols, not software platforms.

While you can’t standardize on your programming environment, you can standard on protocols by which to share information. It’s important to use open protcols that extend beyond your current collaboration.

Never assume that organizations will remember how to collaborate with you.

Even after you complete your collaboration, assume that you will continually re-educate your partners on how to collaborate. New people will move into organizations who will not understand the details of this new way of doing business.

There are my general rules. I hope this site will prove as useful to others as it does for me as a place to demonstrate how to successfully collaborate on Web projects.

November 11, 2006

Almost there..

Filed under: Housekeeping — kirk @ 7:07 pm

Welcome to Common-Nature. I’m still getting the details of the site up and working, so please check back by the weekend.

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