Sugar Land’s new web site www.sugarlandtx.gov utilizes new technology to improve service delivery and make government more accessible to the public.
The City’s website is among its most effective communications tools, a fact supported by the City’s most recent Citizen Satisfaction Survey. Approximately 2,500 people visit Sugar Land’s website each day; last year, the website received 813,932 visits.
Recently updated with a new look and streamlined navigation, the new website was designed and developed to accommodate a broad range of users and browsers, improve content organization so users can quickly obtain the information they seek and ensure access for people with disabilities.
All website content is now automatically compatible for mobile browsing in platforms such as tablets, iPhone, Android, Blackberry, etc. and a customized, branded mobile application will soon be developed.
The City held numerous website focus groups covering the majority of Sugar Land’s demographics in preparation for launching a new website. The purpose of the focus groups was to gather feedback from residents and employees that helped make design, content organization and technology improvement decisions. The feedback was gathered through web-based surveys and small focus groups of six to 12 people.
“In most cases, the number of visits to a city’s website is already significantly greater than the number of visits to a City Hall,” said City Manager Allen Bogard. “Our website serves as a virtual 24/7 city hall that makes governance more accessible, allows citizens to conduct business with the City and provides access to important programs and services.”
The site offers a variety of new features that build on previous offerings such as live Internet broadcasts of governmental meetings, electronic meeting agendas, online business tools and more.
Other features available include the following:
• The citizen request tracker allows citizens to report problems and concerns.
Citizens may use the tool to submit requests or complaints, view pending issues, reopen closed issues, request additional information and more.
• A “My Dashboard” feature enables residents and users to customize content so they can pick and choose the information that’s automatically fed to their dashboard upon site login. In one simple and streamlined view, visitors can immediately see important news, keyword searches, favorite pages, calendar feeds and much more.
•”Notify Me” allows visitors to sign up for email messages about community activities, meetings and other updates. Visitors can self-manage multiple subscriptions at once, and unsubscribing is easy.
• The “Facilities Module” will be expanded in the future to enable visitors to search for facilities by type or amenities available, review the amenities for each facility, retrieve location information and reserve the facility. Search results will offer additional options such as admission requirements, handicap accessibility and how to reserve or make payments.
• A “Media Center” provides streamed meetings, demonstrations and events on the website.
A multi-department website development team selected CivicPlus to redevelop the City’s website. CivicPlus is the industry standard for municipal government and provides their eGovernment solution to more than 1,100 municipalities, including many throughout Texas.