Acronyms are great for simplifying complicated words, but when it comes to user experience they can be bit confusing. Here are brief explanations for what each of these acronyms mean – and examples of how they can improve your local government website.
CS: Content Strategy
At Vision, we’ve written a lot about this topic – what is content strategy and how to incorporate its principals into your website. In short, content strategy is about planning for the creation and governance of your website content so that it gives residents the right content, in the right amount at the right time. A good content strategy makes information easy to find, read and understand.
Good Content Strategy in Motion
For example, the City of San Marcos, California’s website makes it simple to get crucial pieces of information, like how to get a business license. Their Business License page starts with a short, clear explanation of the law, followed by quick links to all related business license applications. Business-owners can easily understand the most important points just by scanning the page and clicking on the appropriate links.
UX:User or Customer Experience
Some consider UX/CX to be an umbrella which covers numerous creative disciplines -- including Content Strategy and Design – all related to how a user -- or even better, a customer -- interacts with your product. Usability.gov, one of the industry thought leaders on this topic,says:
“User experience (UX) focuses on having a deep understanding of users, what they need, what they value, their abilities, and also their limitations. It also takes into account the business goals and objectives of the group managing the project. UX best practices promote improving the quality of the user’s interaction with and perceptions of your product and any related services.”
Putting it into Practice
It’s clear from looking at their website homepage that the City of Abilene, Texas knows just what their residents are looking for. How do they know? There are lots of ways to discover the unique needs of your community including site analytics, surveys and usability studies. This data-driven approach is then used to build experiences that cater to the needs and wants of people using your website. If the #1 thing they want is to pay bills, why not put a big “Make a Payment” button front and center like Abilene did.
Websites should always be in the state of improvement. You should regularly review the analytics of your site, and adjust the buttons and calls to action to keep current with the needs of your organization and community.
UID: User Interface Design
So how do you implement a good user experience? You create a design based on the user data you’ve gathered. User Interface Design or UID for websites focuses on how the user sees and interacts with elements of the site. UID incorporates traditional design questions such as color, dimension, texture and size, but focuses it through the lens of the user’s needs.
Looking Good, Working Well
The City of Yankton, South Dakota demonstrates its embrace of UID with a clean, unified design that merges functionality (search bar, action buttons) with beautiful imagery and theming. These elements work together to make it easy for residents to use the site, while also showing off the beauty of the community.
The User Comes First
Starting with the needs of the user, local communities can craft content, designs and overall experiences that make residents want to engage. Each of these strategies will boost user satisfaction and encourage increased engagement.
To learn more about CS, UX and UID, take a moment to review the following resources:
- A Hands-On Guide to Content Strategy
- What is Usability and Why is It Important for Local Government?
Request a free consultation to learn more about how we apply Content Strategy, User Experience and User Interface Design to design the best government websites for our customers.