How not to make a budget web site

The state of Illinois recently announced its new budget web site. The headline reads, “Quinn Administration Launches First-Ever Interactive Budget Web Site … Public Encouraged to Provide Feedback to Shape State Budget.” Frankly, the site is awful: it’s one video, a bunch of PDFs, a couple of pages with vague generalities, and a comment form.

What could be very interesting:

  • Specific strategies for addressing fiscal problems in Illinois, using a Digg-like submission and ranking system
  • Web apps which allow people to build their own budget proposals, or simulate the effects of certain policy changes
  • Dynamic visualizations of fiscal data, past and present
  • Raw data in easy-to-remix form

is instead simply another comment board filled with commonplaces, flames, rants, and the occasional interesting idea.

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3 Responses to How not to make a budget web site

  1. Scott Lawson says:

    That’s exactly what I thought. I just took a look at the site this morning, and it was completely underwhelming. I was expecting a lot more based on the headline. It’s no more “interactive” than pretty much every other website.

    Like you, I assume something like a digg-style idea suggestion system. A lot of companies have started using that format for feature requests, and it seems to work really well if there’s participation.

    Pretty disappointing overall.

  2. cbd says:

    Agreed. There are some darn good web app developers in Illinois. Why not ask them for help? Or at least have some sort of competition among universities. This would be a great class project.

  3. I wonder if anyone at ours will be part of the protestign of cost and budget cuts for universities across the country. The news report on CNN said that cost has increased 182 percent in 8 yrs. I’m feeling it when looking into housing options trying to get out of the trailer park I live in. Even the ugly looking places are around 600 per month. One room shanty looking thins in big houses are at least 400 now. Pathetic. I couldn’t live in this town as a worker.

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