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How to Prepare for and Manage a Successful Local Government Website Redesign

by Jessica Terashima
Post Date:10/27/2016

You may know it’s time to overhaul your website, but how do you lay the foundation for improvements – even before a redesign project is approved?  At Vision we work with agencies every day that are striving to build the best website experience possible to their residents. After so many opportunities to partner with agencies in this position we’ve gotten a good idea of how to lay the ground work for a successful project.

One of the most important ways to plan for success is to get started early:

  • Start thinking about your over-arching goals for the redesign, both from a user and contributor perspective
  • Take a critical look at your current site and identify outdated content and broken processes
  • Begin talking to stakeholders and decision makers to build early buy-in for updates

We’ve put together a longer, downloadable list of 7 ways to prepare for a website redesign that can help you lay that crucial foundation for success.

Reaching Out for Input

In a recent webinar panelists agreed that getting started early is key, suggesting that leaders get the pulse of community members to understand what changes would be needed in a redesign. Chad Doran, Communications Coordinator from the City of Appleton, Wisconsin encouraged participant to leverage social media to get early input residents. He also suggested looking at other municipal website to get ideas of what works and what doesn’t. Having these foundational pieces in place are crucial when it comes time to make design decisions down the road. Appleton WI Homepage for Blog Post.png

Getting Stakeholders on Board

Chief Information Officer for the City of Carson City, Nevada, Eric Von Schimmelmann suggested talking to department leads early, in order to get their feedback and set expectations for the process. Then when the redesign begins in earnest they will be prepared to do their part.

Carson City Homepage for Blog Post.png 

Structuring Your Teams

Joseph Satre, Developer for Carver County, Minnesota spoke about the unique challenges posed by redesigning a County Website, with its large and disparate number of departments and stakeholders. Before their redesign began, he helped structure an approval process that would give department heads the input they needed without bogging down the core development team. Doing this early helped the redesign project meet milestones and maintain stakeholder support throughout.

Carver County Homepage for Blog Post.png 

Planning Ahead for Success

For cities and for counties, laying the proper groundwork is crucial for executing a successful redesign project. Whether you’re reaching out to residents, setting ground rules with stakeholders or checking out other municipal sites, you’re taking steps in the right direction. Download our redesign prep list and watch our managing a redesign webinar for more helpful tips on planning ahead for success.



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