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Vision Internet’s First Innovation in Online Government Academy Draws Local Gov Leaders to Manhattan Beach, California
Website Content Strategy Expert Says Content is King
MANHATTAN BEACH, Calif. (January 22, 2015) Local government IT and communications leaders from throughout the country gathered in California earlier this week for the first “Innovation in Online Government Academy,” hosted by the City of Manhattan Beach and presented by government website experts at Vision Internet.
The day-long, hands-on innovation academy included a content strategy session by Ginny Redish, website content expert, usability pioneer and author of “Letting Go of the Words: Writing Web Content That Works.”
“Good, clear website design is critical, but content is king,” said Redish. “It’s the reason people visit your site. Every visit to your website is a conversation that the site visitor starts.”
Redish said city and county governments must speak to their constituents in clear and simple language that is coordinated across departments, devices and platforms. “Good content strategy delivers the right content, in the right amount, to the right person, at the right time, in the right medium,” she said.
Redish defined a successful web “conversation” as one in which site visitors find what they need, understand what they find, and act appropriately on that understanding in the time and effort that they think it is worth. This means that a significant part of any website makeover is taking inventory and analyzing current content. Local IT and communications professionals must decide what to keep, what to archive, what to delete and what to write.
Among the challenges cited by conference participants who are seeking to implement a comprehensive content strategy is the “culture of decentralization,” in which content development is the responsibility of individual municipal departments. Redish emphasized the importance of training for all municipal departments, saying that every piece of website content must be well thought-out and organized so the information is easy to find for visitors at all levels of Internet proficiency.
Vision Internet’s training session shared tips, tricks and live examples of best practices used in successful local government websites. Tutorials included creative design and the latest website features from some of the more than 600 government websites Vision Internet has developed for cities and counties across North America. The interactive discussion touched on everything from streaming video and the growing importance of responsive design to cost-effective tips for keeping websites fresh with citizen-generated photography.
“At a time of budget constraints and over-taxed staff, online transformation may seem out of reach for many local government professionals,“ said Ashley Fruechting, Vision Internet’s director of strategic initiatives. “But local governments across the country are using their websites to simplify the demands of online government with technology that allows them to deliver more services at lower costs.”
City of Manhattan Beach Information Systems Manager Leilani Flores Emnace said, “It was great to host the event and network with other government agencies which are also committed to enhancing their digital presence to improve user experience, encourage public engagement and promote efficiency and effectiveness in providing government services.”
Fruechting said the company plans to hold a number of Innovation Academy events across the country this year in partnership with local government clients. For information about Vision Internet’s transformative government website technology, call 888-263-8847 or visit visioninternet.com/inforequest.