We’re just back from a successful trip to the NAGW 2009 conference in Galveston, TX.  We had a wonderful time sponsoring this conference and met some really cool people.  For those of you who don’t know what NAGW is, it’s an association of local government webmasters with the goal of sharing knowledge, ideas and experiences.  Attendees learn about the latest trends, get hands-on training with the newest software, and hear presentations from leading professionals like Eric Meyer (Complex Spiral Consulting) and Joe Rotella (Delphia Consulting).

I wanted to share some of the hot topics people were talking about as we move towards 2010…

Compliancy – 508 compliance is a touchy issue and an elusive goal.  You would think standards would be the same across the board, but every organization we talked to had a slightly different take on the subject.  The good news for us is that our company website meets a satisfactory level of 508 compliancy, which should translate well to the actual Checkbox Survey product.

Open Source vs. Microsoft – The webmasters we spoke to are split 50-50 between Open Source and Microsoft.  Fortunately, we provide solutions that work with both environments.

Social Media Networking – As expected, social media was the hot topic of the conference.  Government agencies are often thought of as lagging behind the times when it comes to technology, but the local and state agencies we talked to are all over social media.  They were passionate about engaging and connecting with their communities through the use of Twitter, Facebook, and other online social media tools.  We enjoyed the open discussion on this topic and being able to demonstrate how we use social media to strengthen our brand and communicate with our customers.

Consistency – Almost all government representatives seemed to share the view that they are wary of disconnected departments using free survey tools to gather feedback.  The ability to gather secure and consistent data across organizations proved to be a positive winning feature for Checkbox Survey.

Support and Customer Service – We were thrilled to learn that having in-house development and customer support was a big plus for these agencies.  Although many of the agencies are very large, they seemed to appreciate the fact that we’ve stayed small and kept our resources local in order to deliver the very best customer experience we can.

All in all we had a great experience at the NAGW conference.  We enjoyed speaking with a friendly and approachable audience who had as much to say as we did, and we look forward to attending NAGW 2010 in St Louis.


On a side note, Galveston is making great progress toward restoration after last year’s devastating Hurricane Ike, but there are still a lot of homes and businesses that are badly damaged.  Our thoughts are with all those who are re-building and we wish them luck and Godspeed.  For more information on Galveston’s recovery plan or to find out how you can help, visit http://recoveryglaveston.org/index.asp.