The District of Columbia
About the District Government Website
DC.Gov is the official web portal for District government information and services. Launched in 1999, the award-winning web portal has grown to include over 100 websites for District government agencies and topics ranging from sustainability to being an age friendly city to the quadrennial Presidential Inauguration.
DC.Gov's annual traffic is higher than many comparable population-sized municipalities and counties, with over 14 million visitors making 29 million visits in 2013 (a 7% increase in visitors over 2012). Visitors include District residents and businesses, state and Federal agencies, and visitors from the US and abroad.
The District’s unique governmental status requires websites that address state, county and municipal functionality. The portal provides over 250 online applications (30 alone for DMV) and more than 170 online forms making it easier for District residents and businesses to transact with their government. The portal reflects a strong commitment to transparency, open government, the integration of social media, accessibility and the thoughtful application of new web technology to serve the local residents of the District, such as the use of an open source CMS, responsive design and the increasing use of mobile apps.
Redesign of DC.Gov Website
In response to requests from the public and from District agencies, the District of Columbia is always looking to update our look and add new features. Our earlier versions of the website were repeat award winners but they looked simplistic and became outdated very quickly (see a screenshot of the old agency look).
The First Migration
A few years ago, we moved to a structured content management system, redesigned the look and feel and made improvements to the information architecture, all of which was a big improvement over our legacy site. However, the new system was difficult to manage and had its problems such as navigating to content (see a screenshot of that agency website design).
On to Drupal
Our current project is to migrate all of DC.Gov agencies into the Drupal content management system (an open source CMS) with an improved navigation, a modern look and feel and a citizen-centric design (see an example of the Drupal design). Over 100 agencies have been moved to Drupal as of May 2014.
The New DC.Gov Homepage
Some of the key highlights of the new site:
Responsive design. The new DC.Gov portal makes use of responsive design, which adapts the layout to the viewing environment. This means that you can view web content effectively regardless of the device and browser you are using, be it desktop, tablet or smart phone. The District recognizes the rapid growth in the use of smaller devices and wants to make sure that District government information and services are easily available regardless of how a visitor to the site is accessing it.
Improved information architecture. We improved the DC.Gov information architecture by redesigning the types of information that should be on the home page using a citizen-centric philosophy. In other words, we want to choose the information that should be on the home page, as well as design how that information is presented on the page, with the visitor as foremost in our consideration. We combined this choice of content and layout with an improved taxonomy and search customization to access content directly. Hopefully, you will find the home page even more effective and efficient in finding information and services.
Improved navigation. We simplified the navigation from the home page with drop down menus to make your access to interior web content an easier experience. This use of drop down menus gives you an immediate view of key subsections of each main navigation item, as well as reduce the number of clicks to get to that information.
More prominent search field. We enlarged the search box and made it a more prominent feature in recognition that many people use search rather than attempt to navigate to interior pages. We have also improved our key word matches and made other improvements to facilitate your use of search.
A clean simple design. The District government represents the residents and businesses of the District of Columbia and DC.Gov represents the online presence of the local government, not the Federal presence. That means you won’t see national monuments or the Capitol or the White House when you come to this site. Also, we think that a simple clean look best serves the visitor who comes to a government website primarily for information and services.
Key services. The featured services listed near the top of the page are based on a combination of Google analytics and a knowledge of upcoming needs and web activity. So there is a good chance that you will find the service you are looking for on the home page itself. If not, then we present a searchable view of all the services across all agency websites on the landing page linked off the home page.
Key resources. We have loads of resources on DC.Gov. Check out the key resources on the home page, as well as the listing page with links to additional resources.
Popular searches. These are the top searches based on Google analytics. if you don't see them on the home page, there is a longer list of the Top 25 search terms on the page linked to the home page. The list is refreshed periodically.
Sticky menu. Note how the top level navigation is part of a sticky header so the navigation stays on the page as you scroll down the page. And see how the DC.Gov logo and Search also move to header.
Who Maintains DC.Gov?
Many teams contribute to the success and usefulness of DC.Gov. Over 80 District agencies are responsible for the content posted on their sites and various groups work together to ensure online applications, maps, and data are available and easy to use and understand. If you have questions regarding the contents of a particular page, contact the appropriate agency. You will be able to find their main phone number on the left-hand side of the page or within the body of the page. If no contact information is provided, call 311.
Also, you can use the Agency Directory to find contact information.
We want to ensure that we capture your feedback on your overall experience with DC.Gov so that we can make improvements. Do you have a comment about the DC government website (e.g. broken links, omissions, user–friendliness)? Send in your observations to the main webmaster and your comment will be routed to the appropriate team or agency office.
Send us feedback and suggestions about DC.gov at our feedback page to help us serve you better.
Connect with the District government through social networking sites. View news, make news, submit requests, start a conversation. Make government work for you. Check us out at Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
Subscribe to News and Information
The District Government sends out information regarding city services, news and events in a variety of methods. You can subscribe to email alerts, text alerts, and follow government agencies on various social networks based on the services and topics that are important to you and your community.
DC.Gov Linking Policy
The District government provides links to external websites as a courtesy and is not responsible for information on websites outside the DC portal. Inquiries should be made to the sponsoring organizations.
Some links provided on DC.Gov or other DC government websites may display vendor logos, banners, or similar identification. Such links are used for operational reasons only and do not constitute or imply any endorsement of any vendor or its product.
DC.Gov Accessibility Policy
The DC.Gov web portal is committed to meeting Federal government standards for making web content and applications usable for persons with disabilities.
DC.Gov Terms and Conditions
Your access to and use of the District of Columbia website is subject to various terms and conditions.
DC.Gov Privacy and Security Policy
The District of Columbia is committed to protecting the privacy of all visitors to any of our websites.
DC.Gov Translation Disclaimer
The District uses human translation services to provide vital government documents to the public. The District does not endorse the use of any machine translation product and always encourages website visitors to call District agencies via phone for additional information in their language. District agencies will use bilingual staff or a telephonic interpreter to provide additional assistance.
Free Downloads to Read Documents on DC.Gov
Some information on DC.Gov is available in Portable Document Format (PDF) or other file formats. If you do not have readers installed on your computer, you may be unable to open these documents.
If you are unsure if you need particular software to open a document, one or more of these disclaimers will be listed at the bottom of the page:
[DOC] This document is presented as a Microsoft Word. If you unable to open the document, download the viewer.
[XLS] This document is presented as a Microsoft Excel. If you are unable to open the document, download the viewer.
[PPT] This document is presented as a Microsoft Powerpoint. If you unable to open the document, download the viewer.