Those of you who navigate the U.S. Army Corp of Engineer's (USACE) permit application process might want to check out their new, online site designed to guide applicants through each step of filing a permit application. Visitors to the Website, located at http://www.usace.army.mil/CECW/Documents/avatar2/index.html, are greeted by an avatar who explains the site and offers advice for moving through each step. He encourages users to first watch a video that goes into more detail about how to apply for a permit using this interactive, online method.
The narrator in the video covers each section of the application and shows examples of how to fill out each piece of information. A transcript of the narrative can also be downloaded for further reference. After viewing the video, users can move on to filling out the permit application. A progress bar is provided to show how much is left to be done. The applicant can print out the application after all steps have been completed.
Although I thought the new, online permit process was a great improvement, one other aspect of the site that impressed me were the sections titled "Why we are involved" and "FAQs." These sections give a explanations of how the USACE is involved in this process, why the process exists, and other information an applicant is probably wondering about. I think this is very important because those of us who work for government sometimes get so used to all the rules and regulations that we end up taking this knowledge for granted. And then we forget that non-government employees are not going to just know the rules, the process, and the terms. So it is encouraging to see a government agency placing information on a site like this that explains why someone is going through the process.