About 75 developers from across the United States (and at least one from Canada) accepted New York City Chief Digital Officer Rachel Sterne’s invitation to spend 36 hours of last weekend envisioning a better nyc.gov.
The city’s first ever hackathon offered little incentive: There were no cash prizes, no iPad giveaways, and the city has not committed to using any of the designs to replace the website it launched in 1996 and last redesigned more than five years ago. Five of 14 teams whose designs were chosen by judges for various honors will be thanked personally by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg in meetings this week.
“Really the goal was to bridge the worlds of government and technology and having a dialog,” Sterne says. “This really showed what people want.”
So what do people want? Most of the winning designs’ homepages focus on search, mirroring Bing and Google. Sterne saw: StackOverflow-like forums that encourage users to help each other, as well as gamification, location and social elements. In other words, these are the trends you’d expect from coders working with APIs from Google, Bit.ly, Foursquare and other popular web services.
New York City also introduced two new APIs at the event: one that works with 311 and another that constantly updates apps that use the city’s more than 400 open data sets with the latest changes.
Here are the five winning designs. What changes would you like to see on your city’s government website?
Best Use of Social: @NYC
Most Innovative: Ask NYC.gov
Best Use of Local: nyc.gov Redesign
A location feature pulls in data based on the user’s zipcode.
Best Use of Location: nyc.gov Local Filtering
A feature pulls in data based on the user’s zipcode.
Best User Interface: Team Apple Seed
For comparison, here is a photo of NYC’s current website:
For more Dev & Design coverage:
- Follow Mashable Dev & Design on Twitter
- Become a Fan on Facebook
- Subscribe to the Dev & Design channel
- Download our free apps for Android, Mac, iPhone and iPad