I’m giving out a prize in about half an hour to whoever made the best thing today at Hack the Government day in the lovely offices of the Guardian. In spite (I say this as I’m surrounded by very serious looking data wranglers) of not being a coder, I made something too.
Number 10 has a lovely website, they’ve made an effort it must be said, however, their petitions site (one of the best ways to express yourself to the government) is somewhat hidden (under the overly formal “Communicate” tab and it’s actually called E-petitions…yuck) and essentially a very heavy collection of lists, formal and legal requirements and generally not web2.0 friendly at all. The thing is there are a ton of really interesting petitions in there and some great stories about the UK and how it works and sometimes doesn’t. It would be great to get to see that and browse through these stories in a more interesting way.
Inspired by Wordle, Digg, Pledgebank, Upcoming and other things I use, I thought I’d revamp it a little, so here’s what I’ve done:
- Pushed Petitions to the top level navigation.
- Used a tag cloud for people to randomly explore content and get them engaged.
- Added an element of timing to push people who created these petitions to share them and get as many people signed up as possible within a given timeframe. People work well within a small number of constraints.
- It could do with a better info viz then this graph but hey, this is what you get after 3 hours of work, build on it if you’re not happy :)
- Rearranged content for each petition to that the description comes first, the signing up after.
- Added the ability to comment, which is always a nice add-on (wasn’t sure as to whether digging + or – each petition was the way to go so left it aside for now)
- Added tagging to each petition which should create a nice richness of information
- Added a whole bunch of tools that someone might use after they actually write up a petition, if they were engaged enough to write it, they’re probably engaged enough to link to it or email their friends or shout it out on Facebook.
So there, a little pixel pushing which did me a world of good but killed my back (stupid Aeron chairs). There are a bunch of things to add on that would complement this I suspect, but it is a Saturday :) Happy Weekend!