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One Year After Website Makeover, City of Palm Bay Reports Significant Increase in Citizen Engagement

SANTA MONICA, Calif. and PALM BAY, Fla. (May 14, 2015) – One year after a website overhaul, completed in partnership with online government experts at Vision Internet, the City of Palm Bay, Fla. reports that the site www.palmbayflorida.org is engaging the community in record numbers.

Under the watchful eye of Palm Bay Web Administrator Stacy LaVanture, the site is meeting or exceeding the goals outlined in the project planning process. “Although there is much to love about the new city website, I think the biggest value has been the new responsive design and how it has enhanced Palm Bay’s ability to engage with the community,” LaVanture said. “More than one-third of our users are now accessing the site through their mobile devices; that’s a 74 percent increase compared to this time last year!”

Community engagement and responsive design were two of the eight goals Palm Bay’s website development team identified during its planning process for the new site. Other goals included a visually appealing fresh look, easy navigation and the inclusion of a customer service portal to increase functionality. 

The revamped site looks sharp and is a stark contrast to its predecessor, which LaVanture described as six years old and stagnated by outdated technology. Just after it launched last spring, the city reported its citizens love both the new look and easy-to-navigate pages. 

Early feedback from citizens included the following comments:

“I love this site! It allows me to keep up with things going on in our city. Some things I may have never found out about had it not been on here,” said one resident.

“Mayor and Council, as a long-time city resident, I would like to comment on the new city website.  It is fantastic; very professional looking and everyone involved in making it happen should be applauded.  My bet is - it is one of, if not the best, city websites around.  The new plan to re-brand the city is starting off strong.  Keep up the good work.  Thank you for serving our city,” said another.

With social media feeds, surveys, feedback forms and online request forms, Palm Bay’s website now serves as a digital city hall. Last year’s road survey, for example, garnered 759 responses and, as of May 2015, the city had received a total of 1,674 online requests for service. Code violation complaints, public works and utility customer service top the list of requests.

The site also plays a critical role in helping citizens prepare for hurricane season and stay informed during any emergency situation by providing real time information. For added protection and security, Palm Bay subscribes to visionLiveTM, Vision Internet’s secure off-site hosting that includes unlimited technical support and automatic software updates, ensuring the city’s ability to keep its site up-to-date, regardless of the extent of an emergency.

Citizens are not alone in expressing their appreciation for the redesigned site. In 2014, Palm Bay’s website won two awards -- an international Gold Marcom Award for creativity in web-based communications, and Vision Internet’s “What’s Next” Award for Outstanding Online Innovation, which recognized the city for actively engaging citizens and involving them in the day-to-day operations of local government.

“Palm Bay’s online innovation incorporates some of the best customer-centric approaches out there today,” said Ashley Fruechting, Vision Internet’s senior director of strategic partnerships. “The increase in mobile traffic to the website is especially impressive. It’s a perfect blend of form and function that clearly engages citizens when and where they want to access city information and services.” 

For information about Vision Internet’s transformative government website technology, please call 888-263-8847 or visit visioninternet.com/inforequest

About Vision Internet
Headquartered in Santa Monica, Calif., Vision Internet is a national leader in government website development with more than 600 government, non-profit and education clients in U.S. and Canadian communities with populations that range from less than 1,000 residents to more than 5 million. The company creates cost-effective solutions that increase government efficiency, transparency and interactive communications with citizens. For nearly 20 years, the company has earned hundreds of prestigious awards for its unique websites. Vision Internet’s visionCMS™ is a powerful, easy-to-use content management system developed with feedback from hundreds of municipal clients.
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