Often times, the most overlooked and undervalued part of your website's usability is arguably its most important: content. Even a visually stunning website will not be effective if the information within it is difficult to find and understand.
Chula Vista’s Sr. Webmaster and content maven, Norma Frank, joins us for this edition of Digital Expert’s Corner to discuss running a website for a large, diverse city with a population that is growing by leaps and bounds.
Website trends come and go, but some old-school best practices endure well past their expiration and age just as well as cheap wine.
Our Busting Website Myths series helps agencies find a better path to website usability and relegate outmoded myths to the rubbish of heap of history. Our certified user experience (UX) expert, Uriz Goldman, takes on a new myth this week – people read on the web.
According to PlainLanguage.Gov,
Plain language (also called Plain English) is communication your audience can understand the first time they read or hear it. Written material is in plain language if your audience can:
- Find what they need;
- Understand what they find; and
- Use what they find to meet their needs.
A User-Experience (UX) driven approach to website development requires shifting discussions about the website’s key content and layout away from the perspective of internal staff and focusing on the perspective of resident-customers. What makes sense to them? What information do they seek? Usability.gov summed it up well when they said:
“User experience (UX) focuses on having a deep understanding of users, what they need, what they value, their abilities, and also their limitations.”
When you’ve worked with local government IT and communications leaders every day for more than 20 years, it doesn’t take a crystal ball to predict the major trends that will impact local government in 2017.
User Experience, Content Strategy and Analytics were the themes for Vision's first Innovation Academy of 2016 hosted by the City of Mesa and held at the Ikeda Theater in the Mesa Arts Center on May 19th. Vision’s Innovation in Online Government Academies are regional conferences that connect local government agencies with their peers to learn industry best practices, trends and strategies to help them maintain a website that serves, informs and engages residents.
Whether you’re embarking a long-term redesign, or trying to scope small changes, there’s always an opportunity to use Content Strategy principles to improve your customer experience. But there are certain points in your website’s lifecycle where Content Strategy can be the make-or-break difference in the success of your website.
Can your citizens find what they want on your website? And once they find it, do they understand what you are trying to communicate? Maybe need to take a look at applying Plain Language techniques to all of your web communications. Plain language is a movement that started by simplifying unintelligible legal documents, and has now been embraced by governments and businesses around the world.