Best Practices for Redesigning Government Websites

When the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) tested several federal websites, they found that a whopping 30 percent failed to pass an “automated accessibility test for their homepage.” 

Often, government websites serve as the primary gateway for citizens to access vital information, services, and engage with their elected officials. So the last thing you want is a website that is difficult to navigate. This can lead to frustration and decreased civic engagement. In this blog we’ll take a look at the best practices for government websites that need a redesign. 

Conduct Comprehensive User Research

Before embarking on a website redesign journey, government agencies must conduct thorough user research to understand the needs, preferences, and pain points of their constituents. This can be achieved through surveys, focus groups, and usability testing. By gaining insights into user behavior and expectations, agencies can tailor their website redesign to better serve the diverse needs of the community.

Prioritize Accessibility

Accessibility should be at the forefront of any government website redesign initiative. Making sure websites are compliant with accessibility standards, such as the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), promotes inclusivity and also ensures that individuals with disabilities can fully access and interact with government services online. Features such as alternative text for images, keyboard navigation, and color contrast adjustments are essential for creating an inclusive online environment.

Streamline Navigation

A common complaint among users of government websites is the complexity of navigation—essentially, that the website is not user-friendly or intuitive. To address this issue, agencies should prioritize simplifying website navigation by organizing content in a logical and intuitive manner. Implementing clear menus, breadcrumbs, and search functionalities can help users quickly locate the information or services they need without unnecessary hassle.

Embrace Mobile Responsiveness

Mobile usage has skyrocketed in recent years, with a significant portion of the population relying on smartphones for internet access. With the majority of internet users accessing websites through mobile devices, government websites must be optimized for mobile responsiveness. A responsive design ensures that content is displayed correctly across various screen sizes and devices, providing a seamless user experience regardless of the platform used. Mobile-friendly interfaces enhance accessibility and enable citizens to engage with government services on the go.

Continuously Iterate and Improve

Website redesign is not a one-time task but an ongoing process that requires continuous iteration and improvement. Government agencies should gather feedback from users regularly and use data analytics to assess website performance and identify areas for enhancement. By adopting an agile approach to website redesign, agencies can adapt to evolving user needs and technological advancements, ensuring that government websites remain effective and relevant in the long run.

Redesigning government websites presents a valuable opportunity to enhance civic engagement, improve access to public services, and promote transparency and accountability. By following best practices such as conducting user research, prioritizing accessibility, streamlining navigation, embracing mobile responsiveness, and continuously monitoring, government agencies can create user-friendly websites. Redesigning websites is one of our specialties, so don’t hesitate to reach out today if your website needs a rebuild.