To say 2016 was an important year for local government technology is an understatement. Nearly every aspect of digital government has been affected as resident expectations grow and technology becomes more sophisticated. I wanted to take a moment to reflect on these changes and three ways Vision has adapted our approach and expanded our services in response.
User Experience (UX) Driven Design
Simply upgrading technology is no longer enough to improve a local government’s digital presence. In fact, a recent survey by Accenture uncovered one of the most significant obstacles citizens encounter when using digital government services is “poor website organization”. This is one of the reasons we have focused so strongly on developing our User Experience consultation services. This research and data driven approach to website development helps our local government customers step outside of the structure of government and make decisions based on how residents actually use and interact with their websites.
The content or information on a website is perhaps the most important component of usability. All too often, local government agencies enter a website redevelopment project thinking primarily about the graphic design and forget the content. However, “poorly organized or dense information that does not provide clear answers to my questions” was cited by 41% of Accenture survey respondents as a top obstacle to using digital government services. In order to help our customers address this need, we launched comprehensive Content Strategy consultation services which include classes on writing for the web and website governance in order to make the information easy for residents to find, understand and use.
Web accessibility remains a critical topic for local government as the guidelines stay in limbo. Even though the Department of Justice (DoJ) delayed the release of their proposed web accessibility regulations for state and local government websites until 2017, there has been a surge in Americans with Disability Act (ADA) lawsuits filed against commercial companies around website accessibility. To help enable our customers to be compliant, we updated our visionLive content management system to ensure that it fully meets the WCAG 2.0 level AA standards and developed consulting services to teach about accessibility best practices and how to maintain compliance.
As a new year begins, I look forward to continued partnership with our local government customers and more exciting changes to come.