September 18, 2008
Virginia’s Official Web Site Named Best in the Nation
Governor Timothy M. Kaine announced recently that Virginia's official state Web site (http://www.Virginia.gov) has been named first in the nation in the Center for Digital Government's 2008 Best of the Web competition. This prestigious honor follows an extensive redesign of the Web portal, which uses colorful imagery to invite participation in online services and features new Web 2.0 social media functionality to enhance the user experience. The new Web site design went live this June.
"Across Virginia, we are using information technology to develop innovative and cost-effective tools that improve customer service and support our management and business processes," said Governor Kaine. "These awards demonstrate our commitment to improving citizen service and smarter management of state government."
The 2008 Best of the Web competition recognizes the most innovative and user-friendly state Web portals and was conducted by the Center for Digital Government, a national research and advisory institute on information technology policies and best practices in state and local government. Sites are judged on delivery of public services, efficiency, economy, and functionality for improved citizen access. Representatives from the Center for Digital Government and officials from the 2007 Best of the Web-winning state and local governments served as judges for this year's competition.
"This year's winners represent the very best in state Web sites and the Center applauds Virginia for its diligence and hard work," said Cathilea Robinett, Executive Director of the Center for Digital Government. "Each year, state and local governments continue to make strides towards implementing better access and more efficient Web delivery of public services."
Virginia's state portal has been ranked among the top five state Web sites by Best of the Web every year it has been eligible to compete; it has been ranked first once before, in 2002, and did not compete the following year according to competition rules. In 2007, Virginia.gov was ranked third.
"Effective use of digital government tools on our state Web portal makes it easier for users to conduct their business with government and provides measurable cost and personnel efficiencies," said Lem Stewart, Chief Information Officer of the Commonwealth. "This prestigious endorsement of our efforts by the Center for Digital Government is a win for the citizens of the Commonwealth."
The updated Web site combines the best of its existing award-winning features with a stylish new look and cutting-edge functionality improvements that provide new ways to access Virginia.gov through Web 2.0 social networking platforms. The clean and open design incorporates a prominent, colorful focal point and an "eGovernment carousel" that clearly invites user participation in online services. A "stay connected" area provides quick and easy access to Live Help real-time online customer service, podcasts, and the Virginia government YouTube channel. Virginia widgets are new mini applications that can be added to and shared from blogs and other social networking sites such as Facebook and iGoogle.
Virginia.gov currently offers more than 140 interactive government services, including online hunting and fishing licenses, legal service plan sellers' registrations, unemployment claims, election reporting, and moving violations payments. Over one million unique users visit Virginia.gov and its related sites each month. The Web site was first launched in 1998.
To maximize taxpayer return on investment, Virginia.gov is developed, hosted, and maintained at no cost to the Commonwealth of Virginia or its taxpayers and is the result of a unique public-private partnership between the Commonwealth and Virginia Interactive, a Richmond-based subsidiary of eGovernment firm NIC (NASDAQ: EGOV).
Virginia.gov is the Commonwealth of Virginia's official homepage (http://www.Virginia.gov) and is a collaborative effort between the Commonwealth of Virginia and Virginia Interactive, a Richmond-based wholly owned subsidiary of eGovernment firm NIC. Virginia.gov was built and is marketed, operated, and maintained by Virginia Interactive on behalf of the Commonwealth.
NIC manages more eGovernment services than any provider in the world. The company helps government communicate more effectively with citizens and businesses by putting essential services online. NIC provides eGovernment solutions for 2,900 state and local agencies that serve more than 70 million people in the United States. Additional information is available at http://www.nicusa.com.