Have you ever tried to design a website for your city internally with a limited staff? If so, you will know that it is difficult because of minimal programming knowledge, lack of time and resources, and small budgets that lead to limited functionality. Your staff struggles to manage and edit essential community content, and you are left without a useful operations tool you had hoped would streamline less efficient tasks.
So what do you do? Many people have found success by using professional web design firms. However, there are a few things you should know before you hire and implement a professional city web design to ensure maximum functionality and satisfaction. In this post we hope to inform you with what you need to know to make sure you select a web development solution for your city that will allow you to successfully communicate with your community and staff, as well as elegantly display your city’s infrastructure, businesses, and recreational sites.
In looking for a city government website design firm that addresses your operational needs as well as professionally portrays your city, you should be looking for these things:
A recent Star Tribune article by Mary Jane Smetanka discussed the recent surge in cities updating their website designs. Smetanka stated, “They all share a philosophy: that the user, not the city, is the priority. While the old websites were organized the way cities are — by department– that’s being scrapped for sites that reflect what residents want to know.” This is true, websites should be designed for easy navigation for the users that are going to access it most. However, and Smetanka did touch on this a bit, the internal or operations side of the website that promotes staff efficiency is a major concern that needs to be addressed.
There are a lot of innovative features available that will increase productivity, convenience, and ‘paperless’ efforts. Five’s custom agenda app, which is run through our city CMS, promotes this effort by reducing the cost and preparation time for meetings by eliminating the need to create, print, staple, and distribute agenda and meeting packets that will eventually just be thrown away. It allows for interactive features that can be accessed via computer, tablet, and mobile phone to encourage more interactive meetings. Council members have ability to add minutes, motions, and notes to the agenda from any device during the meeting. Web casts of the meetings and external links can also be embedded into the agenda. Most importantly, all this meeting data is easily searchable (not just a PDF) and a great opportunity to get the community to the site and involved in your daily activities.
In review, let’s touch on a few important essentials as well as additional features that a government web design should provide you:
So, now that you have some insight into what to look for in a city web design, have read about a few new and innovative features that can enhance the productivity and user experience, you are ready to begin the process. Contact Five Technology today to get started. Remember, it is not just the outward appearance that matters, but also the internal tools and features of the website that can assist your city staff and ultimately reduce costs. Five Technology is the trusted partner in technology that you have been looking for, and can provide or assist you with all of your city government web design needs at a reasonable cost.