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Thought Leadership, Best Practices, Insights and Examples

  

What Story Does Your Local Government Website Tell?

by Jessica Terashima
Post Date:10/06/2015

Your website tells a story with words, images, links and tools. When considering improvements to your website, it pays to understand what your current story is, what you want it to be, and who your audience is. Maybe you want to attract a new audience – like new business owners or visitors – or maybe you want to improve the experience of your residents. Whatever the case, the first step is to define your goals and take a hard look at the story your website currently tells.

Put Your Best Foot Forward

How do you evaluate that story? By putting yourself in the mindset of your potential visitor and looking at your site.

  • Is important information easy to find?
  • Is the imagery interesting and inviting?
  • Is the information provided easy to read and understand?
  • What frustrates your users? What delights them?

If it has been a while since you updated your site, it’s probably pretty easy to spot some gaps just by answering these questions.

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Examples: Important Information is Easy to Find

The Dublin San Ramon Services District website makes it easy for water district customers to get vital rules about water usage limits, along with helpful tips for reducing consumption.  

Dublin_San_Ramon_Services_District.png

Examples: Information that’s Easy to Find and Understand

North Port, Florida’s recently redesigned website employs easy-to-use navigation to help users find the information they seek. 

North_Port_Florida_Website.png

 The City of Santa Clara, California provides numerous entry points to help visitors find key features. City_of_Santa_Clara_Entry_Points.png

Examples: Interesting and Inviting Imagery

The City of Goodyear, Arizona’s award-winning website immediately grabs your attention with its beauty and visual interest. Goodyear_Arizona_Wins_2015_3CMA_Award_for_Its_Website.png

The City of Westbrook, Maine uses vibrant photos and colorful design elements to expresses the community's spirit and beauty. Westbrook_Maine_Website.png

Final Thoughts

A final consideration is that you want a website solution that allows you to easily modify your website:

  • Change images to keep your site fresh or current with seasonal activities
  • Move buttons around to make popular information easier to find
  • Highlight trending information
  • Swap out your home page in case of a local emergency or to promote election results

In the past, you could finalize your website design once and never change it. That won’t work in today’s fast-changing world where you need to quickly and proactively react to best serve, represent and delight your community. This means that you need to be able to easily make these types of changes without any additional expense or having to rely on scarce technical resources.

Are you ready for what’s next?

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