County and Municipal Websites: The New Town Square
Covid-19 has upended daily life, and in many cases, revealed trends that were a long time in the making.
Work-at-home requirements brought the essential need for online connections and services to the forefront.
More so than ever before, county and municipal government websites serve as a virtual town square and the place for:
- Keeping informed about events and public health alerts,
- Taking care of official business,
- Showcasing major attractions,
- Attracting future tourism,
- Supporting local businesses,
- Staying connected to the community, and
- Drawing attention to praiseworthy people and points of pride.
Back in the day, city halls and county courthouses were architectural masterpieces, situated in the center of town with well-tended gardens, and surrounded by the businesses that fueled the town’s economic engine.
Much of what had been accomplished in and around the limestone and granite structures that were built in the 19th and 20th Century is now taking place online.
As such, officials in places such as Martin County Florida are pouring a high level of focus and commitment into their citizens' experience of their websites -- just as their counterparts from previous eras understood the profound importance of creating a welcoming experience that was efficient to navigate and supported civic pride.
New World, Same Needs
Venues have evolved, but many essential needs and expectations of last century’s physical town squares have much in common with today’s virtual ones.
Here are the objectives that are driving excellence among public sector websites in the current era:
- Support citizens’ pride of place with an engaging, visually appealing experience
- Serve as the go-to information resource in times of crises and uncertainty
- Drive collaboration and connection among commerce and community groups
- Streamline access to a vast range of services that previously needed to be accomplished in person
- Accommodate the different ways that the full range persona groups who visit the site interact with technology
- Meet and exceed ADA Section 508 compliance standards and the web content accessibility guidelines (WCAG) that ensure accessibility for people with disabilities
- Leverage the latest technologies and expertise concerning optimal user experience, navigation, and site flow
- Align navigation and information flow with user needs vs. the internal organizational structure
- Bring essential stats and facts to life with illuminating data visualization strategies
- Build in flexibility to ensure that site administrators can easily and efficiently make changes whenever necessary
This is the starting point. Every state, county, municipality, and public sector website has distinct opportunities to connect with constituents, drive efficiencies, and serve as a trusted information resource.
Looking to explore new possibilities for your public sector website? Contact us today.