How would you like an award-winning municipal website?
By Rebecca Christoforidis
Published February 22, 2023
The primary function of a municipal website is to inform, engage, and serve the residents of the community. But as with most technology, websites can becomes dated very quickly. To stay relevant and useful, it needs to evolve with the needs of the community it serves. To be effective it needs a robust content management system (CMS) and a focus on the following elements: Usability, Flexibility, Design, and Digital Service Delivery.
The term user-friendly get thrown around a lot and for good reason No one likes a complicated and outmoded website. To keep your visitors engaged you need to make the experience
You can enhance usability by focusing on accessibility. It is not only a good idea, but in some places, it is the law. In addition to making text easily readable and providing the right degree of contrast, if you can eliminate the need for a mouse and make all functions available via a keyboard, then you can remove barriers for those with disabilities.
To determine how your site fares with respect to Usability, you can take advantage of some of the free tools available for conducting usability testing.
A flexible website is one that is responsive. It should automatically adjust to fit the screens of multiple devices and provide a pleasant viewing experience. A flexible design also means that the administrator can easily control the layout of pages and quickly add or remove content as the need arises, keeping the website up-to-date and providing value to residents.
You may have a the most engaging, interactive, and visually appealing but if the user has trouble getting around, they will leave. The most important ingredient of a well-designed website is the content. More specifically, the layout of the content. A solid navigation path will allow your residents to get the information they need quickly and easily.
A well-designed site will load faster. Nothing kills interest faster than waiting a long time for a page to load.
Your design will establish a first impression for your visitor. It will also determine if they return. And it will aid in your SEO (Search Engine Optimization) strategy and the accompanying search engine results, making it easier for your community to find you and the useful information your site provides.
Digital Service Delivery
According to a recent report, 46% of those surveyed would prefer to access government services online if the technology were more user-friendly. Unfortunately, most of those surveyed found quite the opposite. To remain relevant to your residents, you will need to change that.
The past few years have dramatically increased the public’s use of online services. For many, it has become their default practice when looking for both services and information. They expect the same digital options from their governmental agencies they get from the private sector. By making it easy for residents to access and complete forms, apply for permits, get tax information, etc., municipalities can ensure they are fully engaged with the communities they serve. It also benefits the municipalities by enabling increased efficiency and productivity and allowing them to provide better transparency for their residents.
Outdated and needlessly complicated municipal websites are not going to cut it with the public. To transform yours into a useful communication tool, you will need a robust CMS, an easy-to-use forms template, an effective way to share events and happenings and a way to provide secure access to your community. We can help you with that.
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