Like many counties, the website is the most used resource for helping residents find county info. Whether it is finding a permit form or being notified of new meeting docs, the website needed to meet or exceed visitor expectations for finding answers.
Internally, the county wanted to simplify the process of keeping the website up-to-date. That meant logging in, creating content, and updating old content needed to be intuitive even for someone making only a few changes per year.
The other internal goal was to create a single source of information for employees. For example, HR information was previously maintained on a 3rd party website. Employees had to remember where to log into another website and be familiar with an additional interface. The ability to bring these resources into the website could save a lot of time and frustration for an organization with hundreds of team members.
The new website was built on WordPress due to the platform’s flexibility. The previous platform was a closed CMS so it didn’t allow for much customization. We also built the website in multiple phases to test our assumptions. For example, we built a bare-bones concept website early in the project to test the new editing experience for county employees. These testing checkpoints provided us valuable feedback throughout the project. Keeping this feedback loop in place helped increase employee buy-in and keep our vision aligned with the stakeholders.
One of the main goals of the new website was to lead with a universal search. When done right, search engines can help answer any visitor questions and lead them to the right information. We revamped the navigation to make it easier to find info, but we knew the search engine would still be the most important aspect of helping visitors.
The new search engine allows our team to view user statistics and provide specific feedback based on key metrics. For example, if visitors looking for “property taxes” keep clicking on a link that is low in the results, we need to consider giving that content a boost for that search. Continually making slight adjustments means the search results evolve over time and better serve visitors.
Nobody likes having to check a website constantly to find new content. The notification center allows visitors to simply subscribe to the department content that is most relevant to them. Now email notifications are sent out to applicable subscribers whenever relevant content is published.
Visitors can also subscribe to specific projects. For example, a resident can subscribe to a ditch project that is near their house to monitor construction updates.
New Employee Dashboard
First and foremost, we had to keep employees engaged after the project build phase. To start, we integrated a single sign-on feature for the county Microsoft accounts. While this might seem like a subtle improvement, it helped increase employee engagement a lot! It is one less username and password to manage. For a lot of people, that small convenience can be the difference between using the website and turning away in frustration.
After logging in users typically see the default WordPress dashboard. This interface can be a bit overwhelming, especially for users that only log in a few times a year. To make it a more helpful interface, we created a custom dashboard that simplifies that editing process greatly. The users only see the bare minimum info needed along with suggested resources and a help desk.
This year there have been over 2 million individual page views
A more useful web experience has driven up visitors
The website is managed by editors who create and update content
Maintenance, Analytics, & TrackingResponsive DesignSearch Engine Optimization (SEO)User Experience DesignVisual DesignKeyword MappingJourney Mapping & User FlowsInformation ArchitectureCustom Content StructureConversion OptimizationContent Management Systems (CMS)