10 Must-Have Features of Government Websites

  1. Responsive design
    Smart phones and tablets have changed the way people use the internet. This shift to mobile devices requires a shift to responsive design so that all visitors to your website have easy access to your online information. 

  2. Interactive calendars
    Help visitors stay informed with up-to-date calendars for local events, meetings, and activities. Searchable calendars that automatically remove outdated information are ideal.

  3. Site search
    Extend your site's usability by allowing users to skip directly to the information they need. Search tools allow users to locate information anywhere on the site by searching for keywords in all pages and documents.

  4. Online forms
    Eliminate need for printing and mailing forms and cut down on visits to City Hall by enabling citizens to access forms and applications online. Integrate online payments where possible to allow users to complete the entire process online 24/7.

  5. Unique, consistent design 
    Your website should be as unique as your community. Use your website as an opportunity to convey your community's sense of place and character. The look and feel of your website plays a vital role in promoting tourism as well as economic development and marketing.

  6. E-mail alerts 
    Keep your community well-informed with automatic email alerts. Ideally users can subscribe to specific areas of interest and modify those settings online 24/7. A system like MunicipalCMS will automatically notify your citizens any time you add relevant information to your site.

  7. Intuitive navigation
    Government websites by definition are vast information repositories. Help users locate information quickly by defining an intuitive navigation system that directs visitors through logical information patterns. Categorizing information through multiple paths helps visitors locate information even when they are unfamiliar with the specific roles and objectives of various departments.

  8. ADA compliance
    While it can be challenging to maintain accessibility as technology changes, government organizations are required by law to be ADA compliant--both in the physical world and online. 

  9. Easy access
    Provide quick access to frequently requested information in the header and footer of each page. From contact information to documents, e-payments to e-notifications, determine which pages your visitors use most and provide links in multiple, convenient locations throughout the site.

  10. Front page information center
    Your homepage is the perfect place for a quick glance at the latest news, events, and items community interest. While it's important not to overload visitors with a cluttered mess of information, it is expected that your home page will contain more than a pretty picture. At the very least, shoot for current news, upcoming calendar items, and direct links to some of the site's information hot spots.