My Two Census

Formerly the non-partisan watchdog of the 2010 US Census, and currently an opinion blog that covers all things political, media, foreign policy, globalization, and culture…but sometimes returning to its census/demographics roots.

Posts Tagged ‘Census.gov’

New Census Bureau Web Site…

Thursday, February 20th, 2014

Census Bureau Provides Preview of Redesigned Census.gov

The U.S. Census Bureau today released a beta version of its new census.gov website. With a new look and topic-based navigation, the redesigned site provides easier access to statistics on America’s people, places and economy.

The Census Bureau conducted both industry and customer research to create the new site. The beta site invites users to explore what the new home page will look like and how the topic based navigation will work.

“The new census.gov makes it easier than ever for people to get the timely, quality statistics we produce about America,” Census Bureau Director John H. Thompson said. “Our goal is to make statistics accessible to the public anytime, anywhere on any device.”

What is New?

· Topic-based navigation — The site includes navigation built around 11 topics, such as health, families and education, and centralizes statistical content from numerous surveys. For example, the family and living arrangements topic centralizes content on child care, fertility, grandparents and marriage.

· Contextual navigation — Web pages within the Census Bureau site now provide multiple paths to get to information. For instance, many pages now have helpful related links instead of requiring you to back out of the site and try again.

· The look — The site uses new colors and offers more white space and narrower columns to allow for easier reading and navigation.

· Home page application carousel — This feature on the home page provides direct access to many of the more popular data tools on census.gov.

Coming Soon

· Improved search — The new search function will provide statistics along with traditional results, using combinations of a keyword and a location. For instance, when a user types in “Population of California,” the latest population statistic along with related links will appear.

· Full migration of content — As the new site becomes available, more content from the existing census.gov will be converted to the new look and navigation.

OhMyGov: Census website aims to reach every American, stumbles badly

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

Check out OhMyGov! for more insightful critiques of the government:

Decent idea, poor design

By Alex Pinto
Nov 23 2009, 10:59 AM

If the financial crisis, health care squabbles, and general celebrity deaths of the of the past  few months have caused you to forget, next year is a census year. And a newly launched website, 2010census.gov, has been developed to make sure Americans are ready, and to conveniently address their questions, concerns, and paranoiac fears about being counted.

The site is part of the Census Bureau’s campaign to “reach every resident in America” and plays up the Census as a way for everyone to participate in democracy.

To accomplish that mission the site boats some big features. A huge Flash marquee takes over most of the front page—a landscape picture from the point of view of Lincoln surveying the reflecting pool and the Washington Monument.

“The heart of the new website is the animated marquee that represents a cross-section of America,” proclaims Dr. Robert M. Groves, Director of the U.S. Census Bureau, in a video on the site.

Mousing over the different people pops up frequently asked questions (text and audio) which are answered by a very calming man. But only if you keep your mouse perfectly still. Hover over the dot incorrectly and you’ll be thrust into a different question, which creates a jarring effect that’s somewhere between amusing and annoying. In either case, the message is lost, and users are left hoping for a simple FAQ list.

Then there’s the problem of loading the entire animated marquee for the soundbites to work, and it takes an unusually long time even by the standards of other Flash-heavy sites. If you don’t have broadband, you’ll be waiting a very long time indeed.

Memo to Census: if you want to reach every resident in America, don’t use Flash.

The Suitland Files: Inside The Census Bureau (Part 2)

Thursday, November 12th, 2009

I apologize for taking so long to post the second half of the series that I started nearly two weeks ago, but I’ve been traveling extensively and things were getting quite hectic. Without further ado, I present to you an inside look into my meeting with top communications/public relations/press officials at the Census Bureau’s HQ in Washington, DC:

After making idle chit-chat about Europe, climate change, and Dr. Groves’ travel habits (like any good reporter, I try to extract information wherever possible) for more than half an hour with two private security guards inside their security booth on the perimeter of the Census Bureau’s fenced off headquarters (they refused to let me sit on a bench outside even though it was a warm day…), I was greeted by Derick Moore (who Steve Jost authorizes to make the official Census Bureau comments on MyTwoCensus posts) and Eun Kim, a new Census Bureau PR official who until very recently was a DC reporter for Gannett (hmmm…I wonder why she jumped over to the dark side…).

After clearing a round of metal detectors, I made my way up the elevator with my two aforementioned handlers. I was led to a waiting room where I made some chit chat with Derick and Eun who each told me about their careers in private sector media. (I pray every day that the allure of a solid government salary with good benefits doesn’t one day catch up with me too…) Steve Jost, chowing down on a sandwich and french fries, returned and had us follow him into his office. We all sat down, with me at the head of the table. With white hair and a bit of scruff on his face, Jost wasn’t the devilish and egotistical Nazi I expected he might be, but rather a jovial guy who immediately poked fun at my comments about him on this site. I replied that I made those comments when I was thousands of miles away in the safety of my own home, and I had never expected to be sitting down with him in person. But I had no regrets. My job is to be a watchdog, and a vigilant watchdog I will be.

Last to arrive at our meeting was Stephen Buckner, the mouthpiece of the 2010 Census (spokesman) who had the boyish charm of a high school quarterback. I’m sure that fifteen years ago he easily cruised his way to a victory during elections for homecoming king.

Jost was the leader of this round-table, so between french fries he started firing off all of the positive accomplishments that he and his team have made, while clearly avoiding any of the shortcomings. Here’s a rundown of the most interesting things that he said:

1. High unemployment rates and homeowners losing their homes to foreclosure will cause problems with the 2010 Census.

2. The hardest group to count is “young, unattached people” who move frequently, only have cell phones, are between jobs or studies, etc. — NOT immigrants or minorities, as one might expect from all of the Census Bureau’s hard-to-count group advertising…(MyTwoCensus will investigate this further in the near future!)

3. The Census Bureau has created a series of ads using pop music…get ready to find these on your TV screens starting in early January.

4. The participation rate in the Census increased for the first time since 1970 in 2000, despite general trends that fewer and fewer people are involved in civic activities like voting, performing jury duty, etc. Hopefully they can once again reverse this trend in 2010.

5. 95% of media consumers will be reached multiple times by 2010 Census advertising campaigns.

6. 53% of 2010 Census advertising is local. 47% is national. (Note: MyTwoCensus has not heard back yet as to whether our proposal to let the Census Bureau advertise for the 2010 Census on this site was accepted…)

7. Spoiler Alert: Sesame Street will be featuring a 2010 Census storyline via The Count and Rosita characters.

8. 2010.Census.gov was redesigned.

9. Though 173 forms of social media have been integrated with Census Bureau awareness efforts, no I-Phone Application has been created for the 2010 Census.

10. The 2010 Census forms will be mailed to all households in America (hopefully) on March 17, 2010. (Let’s hope drunken St. Patty’s day revelers don’t interfere with the efforts of the U.S. Postal Service…)

11. When selecting advertisements for the 2010 Census, the Census Bureau asks the creative directors of 12 different advertising firms to submit proposals via a “creative rumble.”

12. Hopefully there won’t be a repeat of the 2000 Advance Letter Debacle in 2010…

13. There will be extra Census Bureau staff in New Orleans to personally hand deliver 2010 Census questionnaires to every household.

14. The address canvassing portion of the 2010 Census provided data that there are approximately 134 million individual housing units in the US, down from original estimates of 140 million.

15. Many addresses in places like Las Vegas where construction on homes was started but never finished have been deleted from the 2010 Census rolls.

16. Very, very, very few people hired to work for the Census Bureau as temporary workers have quit during the 2009-2010 cycle, as other jobs are extremely scarce.

17. On November 17 at 9:30am, Dr. Robert M. Groves will be holding his next monthly “State of the 2010 Census” address…

I was given some handouts (drawings of a 2010 Census logo on a NASCAR racecar that will be unveiled soon), portions of powerpoints (that showed me data about levels of Census participation), and had the opportunity to see one of the hip-hop music based commercials that was recently shot in LA and will soon be airing nationwide. It was a smooth operation, and my questions were answered well. Were the answers necessarily honest? No. But did the PR team effectively do their jobs to give give off the image of squeaky clean 2010 Census communications operations? Absolutely.

Scoop: Census.gov Is Redesigned

Friday, October 23rd, 2009

If you check out 2010.Census.gov between now and Monday,  you will find the Census Bureau’s new, more interactive web site that was designed as a collaborative effort between in-house creators and ad agency Draftfcb.  Please feel free to submit thoughts and comments about the differences between Census.gov and 2010.Census.gov.

Happy Valentine’s Day, Love www.census.gov

Saturday, February 14th, 2009

Every day, the Census Bureau releases a new “Portrait of America” radio announcement. Today’s announcement gave a brief history of the religious and commercial origins of Valentine’s Day. I imagine that few, if any people besides us here at mytwocensus.com actually listen to these announcements. Thus, we hereby call on the Census Bureau to release data detailing how many people listen to their broadcasts.

FYI

Saturday, February 14th, 2009

If you are searching for data concerning America’s population and demographics, look no further than the “American Factfinder” presented to us by the Census Bureau. As of this posting, you are sharing these beloved 50 states with 305,813,193 other people. However, this statistic doesn’t include the millions of undocumented immigrants known to be sharing this country with us.