Must-Have Design Features for Government Websites
When a government agency website is in the earliest planning stages, there are several key elements to discuss. In light of the recent uptick in the number of cyber attacks across the world, cybersecurity should obviously be the first and foremost concern. We have a forecast of predicted trends in cyber security threats for the next 6 months. From a lighter perspective, however, you also have to consider things like branding, copywriting, SEO, and perhaps most importantly, usability. So, specifically where the user experience is concerned, here are a few features that your website should not be without:
Straightforward Copywriting in Headlines and Body
There are several types of organizations that can benefit from creative copywriting, but government agencies are not one of them. For your municipal website, stick to copy that delivers the necessary information in an efficient and concise way. Use language that will be easy for people of all ages and education levels to understand, and divide your content mindfully under headings that make sense.
An Events Calendar That Will Be Easy to Update
Keep your area’s residents up to date on upcoming meetings and events both within your agency and throughout the community. An online calendar is a great way to do that, and they’re easy to integrate with nearly all content management systems.
In most cases, your internal team members will be able to update event listings from the office or even on the go. If you’d like to make it possible for community members to add events, that can be done, as well.
Contact Information That is Easy to Find and Use
A government website should have emergency phone numbers prominently displayed for users who need to get in touch with the agency quickly. If applicable, a real time chat feature would also be a wise choice, and oftentimes, this gives users the chance to get their questions answered without jamming up your phone lines.
Your contact form should be easy to find, and it should include all of the fields that may be necessary to the user. Finally, your website should feature a map that makes it easy for your area’s residents to find your location if they require an in-person visit.
A Prominently-Displayed Search Function
In most cases, people are visiting your government website for a specific reason. Unfortunately, it is also common for government websites to have hundreds of pages of information that is necessary for area residents. The answer to this is to have a search bar on every page of your website. This makes it quick and easy for users to find exactly what they’re looking for without having to search for hours.
A Blog and Social Media Integration
The static pages on your website may hold a wealth of information, but nothing can compete with the personable nature of a blog or the real-time, two-way functionality of social media. Incorporate social media posts into your marketing for 2017. This is a great way to disseminate emergency information, community announcements, and more. The best part is that your audience can “talk” back to you just as easily.
Most content management systems will allow you to integrate your social media profiles with your website, which creates a stronger overall presence online and in your community.
As we mentioned previously, there are several other features that you should keep in mind, and cybersecurity is at the top of that list. At Realnets, we can help you with all of that. To learn more about our web design and development and the ideal features of a government website or request a free consultation with a member of the Realnets team, contact us by phone at 773.631.6851.