In recent years, more and more individuals access websites through mobile devices and use mobile as their main method for receiving information from a variety of channels.
Recognizing the need to provide information that is mobile-friendly, VA has been moving toward writing content on websites that keep mobile in mind and are exploring different ways to reach audiences through mobile devices.
What exactly is mobile?
Mobile means different things to different people. It’s easiest to divide mobile into three distinct categories:
Website adoption to recognize the importance of mobile – Content is written in such a way as to be read easily on a mobile device, implementing a bite-snack-meal approach for presenting information. The information is presented in small bites to form a snack, usually 3-4 lines of text to provide the most important information provided on the page at the top of it, so that the site visitor doesn’t need to scroll down, enabling the user to access the most important information quickly.
Responsive Web Design (RWD) – An approach to web design aimed at allowing desktop web pages to be viewed in response to the size of the screen or web browser one is viewing with (e.g., tablet or smart phone). VA has been using RWD on its desktop web pages since 2014.
Developing exclusively mobile versions of websites – These “microsites” are completely designed for mobile. These sites contain code specific to mobile and are designed for mobile web tasks and browsing. These microsites often contain pared down information on the same topics covered on the main site. One example is the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s mobile site, m.cdc.gov.
Mobile tactics to reach people via their mobile devices
Some of the most popular ways to reach individuals through their mobile devices include:
- Text (SMS), both one-way (receiving text messages) and two-way (text in word to code to receive custom content
- Apps on smartphones
- Voice, one-way voice (eg. celebrity voice mail) or two-way voice (traditional phone call)
- Location-based services, including using maps and social applications, like foursquare, to check-in by location
- Photo/video, including barcodes, photo lookup, translation, digital watermarks
VA Mobile Initiatives
VA Mobile aims to improve the health of Veterans by providing technologies that expand clinical care beyond the traditional office visit.
VA Mobile underscores VA’s commitment to transform the way care is delivered and to improve health care coordination between Veterans and their care teams. VA recognizes that mobile health is emerging as an essential element of health care, and is dedicated to providing the most up-to-date technologies to enhance patient experiences.
VA Mobile releases new Apps for Veterans regularly.
There is a variety of resources on the web on mobile government initiatives and VA is involved in many groups that promote usability and mobile government practices.
- MobileGov Community of Practice – MobileGov Community of Practice members, a network of federal employees, work across agencies to create anytime, anywhere government resources and solutions for today and tomorrow.
- DigitalGov Mobile – Any time, any where, any device. Now that’s truly mobile.
- Federal CrowdSource Mobile Testing Program – A FREE service provided for federal agencies by federal employees.