Christopher Brook, a US ARMY veteran, has over ten years of experience in digital design and development of projects in both the public and private sector, including Senator Berne Sanders, Phillips 66, Cargill, United HealthCare, and Bosch, to name a few. He shares his experience in developing websites for Government with us today.
Chris: Since most private sector websites are designed to sell products, it is relatively straightforward to know when the website is doing well. On the other hand, the goal of a Public sector website, like an elected official’s, is to sell an idea. So, your focus and content are about sharing your thoughts and why they matter. How and how often you share your ideas is also really important. It should be consistent across all channels: websites, social media, GovText, emails, and mailings.
Another is to ensure that the website is well organized and linked to make information readily available, focusing on clarity and accessibility. Ideally, constituents can quickly solve their issues without having to call your office. It is also critical to be mobile-friendly, as more than half of visitors do so using a mobile device. The most vulnerable segments of the population primarily have internet access via mobile devices. So, well-optimized websites allow people to ask for help using mobile access, including those with disabilities.
Chris: A Citizen-Centric Website is a concept for designing websites around your constituent’s needs to better allow them to help themselves. Information and tools that support constituents are designed to be center stage. For example, you may want to keep constituents updated on COVID-19, highlighting the latest news alongside a vaccine scheduling tool. You may run a banner, set up a landing page, or even link to it via GovText to help with outreach as well. That way, your constituents are informed and can get help quickly and easily without being lost in the website.
Chris: The first step is to determine what your key performance indicators (KPIs) will be and make sure that you are tracking them. KPIs could be identifying who visits your website and what pages they move through. These KPIs would allow you to see if connections could simplify the constituent’s ability to find the desired information, improving their experience. I also recommend regular, quarterly reviews with the entire team to ensure that appropriate content is being posted and organized to best help your constituents.
Thank you Chris for your time and insights!