September 14

Show Me Don’t Tell Me: 4 Ways to Enhance Gov Websites

Author: Dani Esterline

Woman walking in front of city mural
Through the latter of the pandemic, we increasingly saw a shift of user dependability on government websites. Government websites deliver crucial information that residents and visitors need for receiving alerts, paying bills, and being aware of events that happen in the community. 
As user dependability increases, it’s in government agencies’ best interest to utilize cutting-edge communication features that engage users.

Let’s jump into some ways to enhance government websites to make the user experience more effective.

1. Tutorial/Explainer Videos
Screenshot of City of Pittsfield Explainer Video

Show me, don’t tell me. Residents (and the majority of internet users alike) don’t have the time to read through long and tedious documents to discover the crucial information residents need in a timely manner. We are in a digital age that focuses on task efficiency, and tutorial videos show the user what, where, and how they are supposed to complete a task quickly. What was hours before searching through a site and finding instructions, now is cut down to a short concise video that visitors can consume easily.

A great example of this tactic is the Revize City of Pittsfield site, where administrators beautifully executed a tutorial video to show residents how to input census data.  The tutorial offers a quick and easy way for residents to follow instructions and eliminates queries residents may have.

2. Video Captioning 
Woman watching video with captions on laptop

If you’re not inclusive as a government agency, you’re not following government website best practice standards. ADA Accessibility is a large proponent for websites, and video captioning is another way to help users consume content in a clear way. Subtitles allow users that may have hearing impairments to absorb content.

3. Chatbots
Graphic of a chatbot

What do we want? Convenience! When do we want it? Now! The whole point of technology is to make users’ lives easier, and as stated earlier, residents don’t have the time to surf through pages and links to find answers. Chatbots provide a conversational problem-solving tool for residents and decreases employee support resources. Fewer residents will be calling in to find out where information is, and access necessary information.

Check out some of our favorite chatbot services for municipalities that offer top-tier chatbot services: Citibot and Tars 

4. Website Marketing for Residents 
St.Petersburg Revize site

For some marketing efforts, branding can get lost in the mix with niche industries like government agencies. Residents can’t engage or promote with your community unless they’re proud of it. Marketing for local governments includes finding what makes the city, county, town, etc. special. Everybody’s place is the greatest place in the world, but making your place stand out is the way to increase economic development and a sense of community. This includes your government website and ensuring it follows best practice standards, reflects the region accurately, and has an aesthetic web design. 

Ways to implement marketing for residents in a government website include branding colors, use of white space, and photos on your site that actually reflect the way the city is.  The above photo of St. Petersburg, Florida showcases the beautiful brand that the area offers to its community.

Bottom Line:
Municipality websites are meant to offer residents, tourists, and vendors a look into the area and what it means to be a part of the community. By failing to adapt to new trends and services, municipalities run the risk of decreasing economic development. 
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