This article is part two of the article “Having a functional government website is key to improving digital experience“
I earlier shared a knowledge-base story of how having a functional government website can help drive a digital experience for the citizens.
In the article, I highlighted the importance of an active website as a tool for communication with the citizens. I also defined an active government website as a citizen inclusion driven platform. Sadly, some websites of Nigerian agencies are just static pages with little or no interactive channels on them.
Digital government is the new thing most governments of the world are currently practicing and promoting and Nigeria should not be left out.
For the records, there are Nigerian government agencies already practicing and applying digital governance in discharging their statutory duties and responsibilities to the citizens. In the coming weeks, I will be featuring these agencies in my weekly and monthly publications. These agencies are making Nigeria proud and also showcasing to the world government’s readiness to embrace digital governance.
There are key website strategies which the today’s government and industry leaders can employ on their websites to drive a “People Inclusion Government.”
In this article, I try to highlight some of these website strategies and how the government can leverage them in promoting and improving the government to citizens business.
Here are five suggestions to consider:
1. Start with the domain name and domain extension
The very first website strategy a government agency should apply is the naming of the agency’s official website. If this is done correctly from the beginning, it will save the citizens a lot of time in identifying the agency as a government body.
This centers mostly on using the either the agency name or acronym and registering it with Nigeria’s country code Top Level Domain (ccTLD).
We covered this strategy in a full and separate article making reference to a recently launched government project portal.
2. Make accessing information easy
A well optimized website shouldn’t pose a problem navigating. You can instruct your IT professionals to make sure the website structure and layout are well designed. A good website structure and layout will have an easy to navigate menu which serves as a compass for website visitors. An ideal thing to do is to make sure your navigation menu is placed on the top fold of your website preferably, directly under your site logo or beside it. That’s for a desktop version. For mobile version, it should still be by side the logo while making sure the search icon is located on the other side of the logo.
The importance of good site navigation is that they are helpful in displaying easy-to-find links to agency bulletins, announcements, meeting and agenda information, minutes from past meetings, press releases and other key information meant for the consumption of the citizens.
Averagely, website visitors spend less time on a website especially if it’s not optimized and if the information they seek is not on the very first place they would look (navigation menu) upon landing on your website, they will leave the page.
3. Build a mobile version of your agency website
The big screens are gradually becoming only an office thing. On an average of 100 people who access your website today, about 90 do so with their mobile phones while 10 if not less access your website with laptops or desktops.
A well optimized government website should target more smartphone users because they can access the internet now belongs to the mobile users.
Sadly, most government websites we have studied either have bad structures, layout or very hard to access with a smartphone.
To be able to serve the citizens with the information they need and also improve digital experience, make it a duty to task your IT professionals for a mobile compliant agency website.
4. Create a blog page within your website
When the word blog is mentioned, people normally refer to individuals, groups and businesses because they they believe blogs are often used for either personal use or commercial gains.
But here is the thing. Government blogging is now revolutionizing the way governments of the world communicate with their citizens. Many government bodies who now understands the unending benefits of blogs now resort to blogging as a means of updating their website with news or activities around their agencies.
A good example of government blogging would be an agency like Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) blogging about the benefits of paying of tax, what the citizens stand to benefit when the pay tax and what the country stand to lose when they evade tax payment. Similarly, the ministry of information and culture can through blogging educate Nigerians on the dangers of FAKE NEWS and how to go about good journalism. The list can continue…
5. Integrate a feedback gathering tool
A good government website designed for people inclusion should have a Feedback gathering tool. Having a tool that can help your agency interact or get feedback either from you or the citizens creates room for trust and improved digital experience between the government and the citizens.
Live chat, contact forms, polls and comment or complaint forms are good examples of feedback tools a government agency can integrate on its agency website to bring out engagement. Through this mediums, government officials can also be made to speak directly to the citizens on behalf of the agency. If this is done correctly, it can help create trust between government and the citizens they serve, not leaving out the fact that will be high level of confidence bestowed on the government by the citizens for listening to them and helping to proffer solutions to their problems.
These are few website strategies government institutions can apply right now to improve digital experience. More to come in our subsequent articles.