Overall, municipalities have made significant improvements to their websites over the last five years but still should consider making a few more. Enhancements included making the search bar more visible (always top right) and the searches themselves are more accurate and useful. Also, many agencies are using Laserfiche WebLink or WebAccess, so document searches are more exact. From a UI perspective, advancements encompass graphics that are cleaner, and the navigation is more precise and easier to use.
One area that can use development is functional. The most important objective of a local government website is its ability to equip citizens with online services that can save them time rather than coming into the office. Especially while still ongoing COVID restrictions. Services such as bill payment, employment submissions, program registrations, and facility reservations can easily be done online from home or on any tablet or mobile device.
But in e-services offering context, because using online services is more efficient (in terms of time and cost savings) than alternatives (such as calling or counter services), users will use government sites although the sites sometimes fail user expectations. Furthermore, government channels stand-alone, irreplaceable. If users want to submit their property taxes to the government, there is no alternative — they must do it either online or offline through the mail. If these same people want to buy a shovel, however, they have many options.
The solution for agencies who wish to provide the best version of e=services is to prioritize tasks. Pick the top five reasons why a citizen would visit your site. Are they reserving a facility? Signing up for a program? Paying a bill? Paying a ticket? Your webmaster can give you a list of pages with the most traffic.
Next, think about how the user gets the information they need to complete the task and then how they give your agency the information you need to complete your portion of the task. Many agencies use a web form or a fillable PDF. Some require the user to print out the form, fill it out, scan it back in, and then upload it to the agency site or email as an attachment.
Now, I am going to ask that we mull over how we get this information from our clients. Is a PDF or an email attachment really the easiest, most efficient way.?
No, it’s not. Here’s what I purpose. All the tasks on your website should start with a Laserfiche Form. This is why: government website builder OpenCities conducted two studies of municipal websites, one five years ago and one in January of this year. They identified area of most progress:
“The most dramatic improvement was in the prioritization of top tasks on websites, a design trend that has become more standard in recent years.”
A form can take that already improved area and make it brilliant! A form is a structured way to request information. Once completed, the form can launch a business process, or send an email telling the team member they have work in queue.
And you don’t have to worry about building out all the forms. The Laserfiche Forms Library was created to provide the tools to help your citizens complete tasks on your website. You can choose from a range of processes, such as a PRA form, that can easily be configured and deployed. The forms product was designed to be what we call “low code”–meaning you don’t need programming skills to use it. Also, If you want some help with form building, CPS can do it for you or provide training.