Connecting state and local government leaders
“Boston’s focus on its website as a product that lives and can be managed going forward is a great perspective that a lot of government agencies have trouble adopting.”
The redesigned Boston.gov city website launched Wednesday, treating visitors to a more organized “user journey” that aims to break down silos between government agencies.
Nothing illustrates this better than the site’s new “guide pages,” which compile and help citizens find related information across departments. Everything from owning a car in Boston to buying a home to contracting with the city has its own page which is easily populated by employees on the backend.
“The goal was for the site to be beautifully designed, delightful to use, and thoroughly useful,” Josh Smith, Acquia’s manager in professional services and program lead for the Boston.gov project, said in an interview. “Guide pages are organized to appeal to a certain constituent group based on what they’re interested in knowing.”
The Boston-based software-as-a-service company managed the site’s agile development process—taking feedback from a pilot website built in late 2015, coupled with local design firm IDEO’s aesthetic vision, to come up with technical solutions.
Acquia’s flexible development platform will assist the city in making continued improvements to the site based on web analytics monitoring user paths and public feedback.
That kind of informed digital strategy outlined on an ever-evolving roadmap page keeps Boston responsible to its citizens via its website over time. On the 2016-17 agenda: more guides, improved forms, a better calendar, maps, and a subscribe feature.
“A lot of what will happen next is based on the feedback this launch brings in,” Smith said. “Boston’s focus on its website as a product that lives and can be managed going forward is a great perspective that a lot of government agencies have trouble adopting.”
Dave Nyczepir is a News Editor at Government Executive’s Route Fifty and is based in Washington D.C.