There are over 89,000 local governments in the United States with no standardized way of communicating with citizens. And generally speaking, these sites are confusing, clunky, and, unfortunately, stressful. We need to help streamline public trust through transparency, public participation, and openness for a better intuitive experience than our user’s current government sites.
To better define users’ interactions with their local government websites and improve their experience through a micro-site.
An Inside Job
We started by sending a survey consisting of our assumptions and exploratory research. We surveyed 32 random users to gain insights and vet our target users.
Since our target user could literally be anyone who has access to their government websites, we focused on users who use government sites frequently or recently to give us fresh insights to identify potential design opportunities. Once we found our target users, we interviewed 14 of them, and here’s what we found out:
- The majority of the users Google what they need before searching for their needs in the government sites.
- Most of our users visit their own city government sites for particular tasks, and only when they need to—tasks like paying your taxes, parking tickets, paying utility bills, DMV information, and city services.
- Many users mention having to click on many complicated and repetitive links to get to where they needed to go, causing frustration.
- Users were confused by the wording on government sites.
- We’ve learned that most prefer to use their laptops to navigate data on government websites and want a more comfortable mobile experience.
In short, due to masses of unclear information, people using government websites quickly find themselves lost or confused.
Based off what we learned from our users, we started sketching out ideas —
To pay, apply, and report stood out to us as commonly used actions during our interviews, so they are front and center with several quick options underneath. These options allow our users to get in and out with directed actions at their convenience. We also implemented a search bar in each of these screens if they didn’t see what they needed on the provided screen.
We wanted to build a product that brought a personalized experience to each user, so they understood what and when a task had to be accomplished. A personalized timeline helps organize upcoming things you might otherwise forget, like your reoccurring bulk trash pick-up or your trash and sewer bill. This idea stemmed from my teammates and myself brainstorming on how we set reminders and check those reminders. We designed layouts that were reminiscent of online bank statements and alarm toggles.