How to Bring Equity to Government Technology

How to Bring Equity to Government Technology

Excella Modernization Insights (March 16, 2021)

By Burton White, Excella Co-Founder and CEO

At 8:57 a.m., my wife and I launched our browsers and went to the District of Columbia’s website for vaccine registration. I had recently become eligible to receive the vaccine in the District and was eager to join millions of other Americans by getting our shots. Registration for appointments started at 9:00 a.m. and my wife and I were on early—excited and determined to get an appointment. Forty-five minutes later, we were stunned, furious, and appointment–less. What happened in between was an extraordinary failure of government technology.

Repeated ‘page not found’ errors, multiple CAPTCHA errors despite entering it correctly, getting booted off the site halfway through completing the necessary form, being routed to the District’s security page for employees and contractors —we faced error after error. In the end, two educated, abled, resourced people with flexibility to sit in front of two computers for 45–minutes at the exact right time couldn’t get an appointment because of dismal government technology. To be clear, given all the resources at my disposal, I’m certainly no victim in this case. As frustrating as my experience was, the real question remains: how would someone who is not educated, abled, resourced, and flexible with time get this done?

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