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5 Predictions for Online Government in 2014
Vision Internet Says Simplicity Rules, iGov is Here to Stay
SANTA MONICA, Calif. Working with local government clients throughout North America to design and develop municipal websites 24/7, 365 days a year puts Vision Internet in a unique position to identify issues and spot trends the cross geographic, functional and cultural boundaries. Nearly 100 new communities partnered with Vision Internet in 2013, largely because of the company’s expertise in what works today and what will work tomorrow.
Ashley Fruechting, Vision Internet’s director of strategic initiatives, has spent the last seven years counseling municipal IT and public information teams on the most efficient and cost effective ways to interact with citizens. She offers the following predictions for local government websites in the year ahead.
- Simplicity Rules: Keep it simple will be the mantra for government websites in 2014. Even the most powerful content management tools will be ineffective if government content editors find them difficult or time-consuming to use. That’s why visionCMS™ was developed to make it easy for non-technical staff to update municipal websites and for citizens to find the information they need fast. Citizens will demand that the information they search for most be up front and easy to find.
- Branding goes public: Creating a positive image, or brand, is as important in the public sector as it is for private entities; 2014 will be the year in which cities do more to upgrade their online image. A clean, creative, engaging municipal website can increase tourism, promote and attract businesses, boost citizen pride and help cities recruit the best and the brightest new talent. When it’s time for cities to upgrade their websites, it’s important to involve local citizens and to partner with development firms that can capture the unique character and spirit of their communities in words and images.
- Local governments pull back the curtain: The way citizens gain access to vital municipal information has changed dramatically in the past 10 years and 2014 promises to accelerate that trend. Municipal websites are open government portals that offer citizens more accessibility through interactive content and full disclosure of government salaries and expenditures. In Prairie Village, Kansas, for example, Vision Internet developed a customized eCheckbook system, called PVCheckbook. This dynamic financial database allows village administrators to openly share an up-to-the-minute accounting of all the money they spend. In 2014, local governments across the nation will be even more proactive in sharing this kind of vital information.
- iGov is here to stay: With the explosion of smartphones and tablets, local government websites will have to adjust to citizens’ screens of choice. In 2013, both ComScore and Nielson reported that people spend nearly 40 percent of their Internet time on mobile devices. Vision Internet’s responsive design adjusts automatically to any size screen to engage citizens on a variety of devices where and whenever they find it convenient.
- A new idea of “community:” Social media will be an even more important source of community information in 2014. Residents will increasingly pin, like and share local government news and information. To keep pace with their constituents, municipal webmasters will need to facilitate information access and sharing with strategically placed social media buttons and easy ways to comment on important town developments.
“In 2013 we saw a fundamental shift in the relationship between residents and local governments,” Fruechting said. “Public officials who recognize this are embracing the power of today’s website technology and using it to build public trust. Local government can no longer afford to lag behind the latest website technology. Transparency coupled with advanced website technology empowers them to increase access and engagement with the people they serve. Vision Internet customers who understand this were recognized by their peers and fellow professionals this year with more than 30 awards for website design and functionality. Vision Internet will continue to look ahead at what’s next to help local leaders find new opportunities to make their communities strong and prosperous.”
For more information about Vision Internet’s transformative government website technology, 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 500 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. Over the past 17 years, the company has earned hundreds of prestigious awards for its unique websites, including numerous 3CMA Savvy Awards. In 2013, Vision Internet launched visionCMS™, a powerful, easy to use content management system developed with feedback from hundreds of municipal clients. For more information visit www.visioninternet.com.