A well-designed government website is critical for citizens to easily access information and services. The reality is that consumers and the private sector have fully embraced the digital world and continue to do so, whereas the public sector has unfortunately lagged behind in innovation for decades. Because of this, a lot of government agencies work with digital solution providers to get user experience services to improve the performance of their websites.
Websites are too often challenging to navigate for citizens unfamiliar with the internal structure of local and state governments. According to Accenture’s Digital Government Survey, one of the most significant challenges citizens face when using digital government services is “poor website organisation.” In this article, we will discuss the key elements of an effective government website design that enhances user experience and meets the needs of the public.
Difference Between Designing a Government Website and a Business Website
Designing a government website and a business website from a UX and usability perspective requires unique approaches due to differences in purpose, audience, content, and functionality. Government websites provide information and services to citizens and may require compliance with accessibility regulations and maintaining a high level of security to protect confidential data. In contrast, business websites focus on marketing and sales and may require a more simplified user experience to attract and convert potential customers.
While both types of websites may require support and feedback channels, government websites may need to deal with high-volume enquiries. Accessibility is critical in increasing governance efficiency as it allows individuals to interact and use government services more effectively.
Helpful Tips for Designing Government Websites
- Intuitive Navigation and Layout
Users must be able to navigate the site easily to locate the information they require efficiently. Use descriptive tags for your navigation menus and organise your content into clearly defined categories. Ensure that critical content is clearly displayed and readily available from the homepage.
- Mobile-Friendly Design
With the increasing use of mobile devices, it’s crucial to ensure that a government website is mobile-friendly. Implement a responsive design that adjusts to various screen sizes and devices, giving users of smartphones, tablets, and desktop computers a seamless experience.
- Compliance and Accessibility
Government websites in Australia are required to follow the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 Level AA to provide accessibility for individuals with disabilities. This is further backed up by the Australian government’s Digital Service Standard, which outlines recommended practices for creating accessible digital services. These guidelines ensure accessibility for all users, including those with disabilities,
- Clear and Concise Content
The content on a government website should be clear, concise, and easy to understand. When possible, opt for plain language that is accessible to a wide audience rather than jargon and technical language. Use bullet points and lists to make information easier to scan, and break up the content into short sections with descriptive headings.
- Visual Consistency
Visual consistency is essential for establishing a credible and trustworthy image. Create a consistent visual identity for your government website using a consistent colour scheme, typography, and imagery. This improves the overall aesthetic appearance and helps users recognise your office and its services.
- Incorporate Feedback Mechanisms
User feedback is invaluable for improving the design and functionality of your government website. Include feedback mechanisms, such as surveys, contact forms, or live chat, to gather user insights and identify improvement areas. Respond to feedback and continuously iterate on your design to enhance user experience.
- Prioritise Security and Privacy
Government websites often handle sensitive data, hence security and privacy are top priorities. Use secure communication protocols such as HTTPS to protect data transmission and implement strong access restrictions to prevent unauthorised access. Update software regularly and perform security audits to maintain a secure environment.
- Measure Performance and Optimise
Monitoring the performance of your government website is critical for identifying areas for improvement. Use analytics tools, like Google Analytics, to monitor user behavior, and make informed decisions about optimising your website. Pay attention to metrics like time on site, bounce rate, and conversion rates to gauge user satisfaction and engagement.
Creating an effective government website requires a focus on user-centered design, accessibility, and security. Government agencies can develop websites that effectively meet the needs of their citizens and provide a seamless, user-friendly experience by incorporating these key elements and continuously iterating based on user feedback and performance data.
Creativ Digital‘s web designers and developers deliver inclusive and intuitive user experiences for government websites, which follow quality guidelines such as the Australian Government’s GOLD Design System. Consider partnering with Creativ Digital for user-centered design, accessibility, and security. Contact us today to learn more.