4 Things to Consider for a Website Redesign

As a local government you understand that providing robust and reliable online services to your citizens is necessary to keep them satisfied and engaged. So how can you achieve this as you redesign your website?

Perhaps you are rethinking your Web presence because your old site is outdated. Or maybe you want to take advantage of new advancements in Web practices and technology. Whatever your reasons are, a redesign requires a thoughtful and thorough process.

Here are four items to consider when undertaking your municipal website redesign:

1. Think safety first.

A week doesn’t go by without news of a business or institution suffering a data breach. Online assaults are growing in number, whether from amateur hackers or sophisticated foreign agencies. Barrages designed to overwhelm a site with traffic from a number of sources are called Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) raids and they increase every day. You not only have to keep your site online but need to protect information about your operations and constituent records. The community is trusting you with their information and it’s your responsibility to protect it.

Key Takeaway

Your website and your database must be kept secure from attacks. A community has to consider what technology to use, what it can afford, and where the site is hosted. Don’t forget to check on the physical security of your host. All GovOffice websites are hosted in a secure, Tier Three Cloud data center, which ensures the highest levels of security and firewall technology, powerful and reliable servers and systems, and robust bandwidth.

2. It’s a mobile world.

A majority of Americans now own a smartphone and use it on a regular basis to peruse online content. Older members of your community are more likely to use more traditional means of visiting your website but even that population is changing. Your website must not only look good on a laptop but its crucial elements must be accessible on mobile devices as well. In addition, in an emergency or loss of power a smartphone may be the only way a user can reach your site.

Key Takeaway

The content of your website has to be legible on smartphones and other mobile devices. By using a Responsive Web Design (RWD) your site will adjust to the demands of variable screen sizes. GovOffice websites include a mobile version and Responsive Web Designs are available to ensure an optimal user experience.

3. The needs of many, the needs of few.

If you undertake the task of overhauling your website, conflicting priorities are going to emerge. It’s not just about what constituents face when using the site. Each department in your organization, each official, and every entity that has a stake in the site will have a different opinion and agenda. Therefore, before launching a new website you must consider the needs and inputs of everyone involved, not just the team responsible for the new site. By concentrating on the impressions of those who supply the content and those who use it, you will end up with a site that will serve your citizens best.

Elected officials and employees will have differing needs as well. A Mayor will want to create a different impression than the Water Department supervisor. It is crucial that you collect information on what your citizens, officials, and employees expect of the website. Once you have a grasp on what their expectations and requirements are, you can then implement best practices to meet those needs.

Key Takeaway

The information on your site should be complete, easy to find, and worded so all can understand it. Elected officials may need different information displayed than your employees. You need input from outside and inside to make informed decisions on content and appearance. GovOffice has a staff of content professionals that understand and implement best practices of Web writing and design that can work with you to ensure your unique website needs and goals are met.

4. Open your door to everyone.

Developing a new website to accommodate people of different abilities is a crucial concern. For several years the US Department of Justice has conducted audits of accessibility all across the U.S. This includes municipal websites. Several counties and cities have had to settle with the DOJ last year.

The Federal accessibility requirements are called WCAG 2.0 and each community must adopt a program to be compliant with them. When configuring a new website, you need to put into place the standards and practices required under these regulations.

Key Takeaway

Your content writers need to be educated about the requirements for accommodation. Art and graphics will require attention to color and contrast. All content has to be configured for access by people of differing abilities. GovOffice works to keep up with these evolving requirements and our newest design framework was specifically formulated to address accessibility of our sites.

Stillwater, MN hit all the marks with their website redesign