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Designing citizen-centric websites

Learn more about strategies for creating intuitive user experiences.

Lauren Hetherington, 18 January 2024 13:33
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In the digital age, a citizen-centric approach is crucial for public sector organisations, particularly local authorities, to enhance their engagement with the community. One key avenue for this interaction is through well-designed websites that offer an intuitive user experience (UX). In this article, we'll explore strategies to create citizen-centric websites that prioritise usability, accessibility, and overall satisfaction for the diverse range of users interacting with public services.

 

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Understand Your Audience

The first step in designing a citizen-centric website is to understand your audience. Local authorities serve a diverse community with varying needs, demographics, and technological capabilities. Conduct user research, gather feedback, and create user personas to identify the unique requirements of your citizens. This information will guide the design process, ensuring that the website addresses the specific needs of the community.

 

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Prioritise Accessibility

Accessibility is a cornerstone of citizen-centric design. Ensure that your website complies with accessibility standards (such as WCAG 2.2) to cater to users with disabilities. Provide alternative text for images, ensure keyboard navigation, and offer text-to-speech options. An accessible website not only serves a wider audience but also reflects the commitment of public sector organisations to inclusivity.

 

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Streamline Navigation

Citizen-centric websites should have an intuitive navigation structure that allows users to find information quickly and easily. Implement a logical hierarchy with clear menus and labels. Conduct usability testing to identify and rectify any navigation issues, ensuring a smooth and frustration-free experience for all users.

 

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Mobile Responsiveness

As a growing number of users access the internet through mobile devices, it's imperative to ensure your website is responsive. A mobile-friendly design ensures that citizens can access services and information seamlessly, regardless of the device they use. Responsive design not only improves user experience but also aligns with the principles of inclusivity.

 

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Clear and Concise Content

Citizen-centric websites prioritise clarity and simplicity in content. Use plain language to communicate information, avoiding jargon and complex terminology. Break content into digestible sections, employ headers and bullet points, and provide concise yet informative descriptions. Clear communication enhances user understanding and engagement.

 

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Empower Citizen Participation

Enable citizen participation through interactive features such as feedback forms, surveys, and online forums. Actively seek input on public policies, initiatives, and services. Demonstrating a commitment to listening and responding to citizen feedback fosters trust and a sense of community involvement.

 

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Seamless Online Services

Local authorities often provide various online services to citizens. Streamline these processes by offering user-friendly online forms, secure payment gateways, and personalised user accounts. Simplify complex procedures and provide step-by-step guidance to ensure citizens can complete transactions effortlessly.

 

Conclusion

Designing citizen-centric websites is a continuous process that requires ongoing attention to user needs, technological advancements, and changes in the community landscape. By prioritising accessibility, intuitive navigation, and clear communication, public sector organisations can create websites that empower citizens, foster engagement, and enhance the overall user experience. In doing so, these organisations contribute to building a more transparent, accessible, and citizen-focused government.

Last modified: 26 February 2024 13:46