Valentine’s Day is a great day (but shouldn’t be the only day) for local governments to show love to their communities. Say “I love you” with a usable website that makes it easy for residents to find the information they seek. It’s as easy as LOVE!
is for Listen: Start with your users
It’s nearly impossible to create a User Experience (UX) focused website without first understanding your users. What do they want to find on your website? How are they using and accessing your website? If you’re not sure, start with research. Add a survey to your website to get direct input into why users are on the site and what other content they might want to see. Additionally, your website analytics can be a great place to start as they will show you what pages your users are most frequently accessing and what devices they’re using.
is for Organize: Think like a resident
One of the most frequently cited complaints about local government websites is that they are difficult to navigate. This is likely because most are set up to reflect the internal structure of the government organization. A site visitor who is looking to adopt a pet will have to know that the process is managed by the police department in order to find the information they need – sound familiar? Armed with the insights gained during your research, take a step back and take a service-oriented approach to developing your site navigation. Focus on the top tasks and how a resident unfamiliar with government would look for the information.
is for Validate: Test your assumptions
The changes you make might require some refining in order to achieve your goals. If you make changes to your navigation or change how a particular task is handled on your website, take a step back and test the changes with actual users. Find someone unfamiliar with your website and ask them to perform the task. Observing their use of the site will help you validate whether your solution worked and provide insight into how to continue to improve.
is for Evolve: Make a plan for on-going revisions
The launch of your website is only the beginning. Your users’ needs will continue to change over time, so thinking about how you will respond is critical. Set an on-going schedule to evaluate your site’s performance and make adjustments. Even if it’s just twice a year, having a plan in place will help keep the website top of mind in the midst of competing projects and priorities. Though it will require time and effort, your users will thank you!
A UX Valentine for you
To help keep the LOVE for UX going year-round, download our handy checklist to help keep the users at the center of your website plans!