Sacramento County opted for a responsively designed website knowing mobile device Internet usage will overtake desktop before 2014 ends. This is just one of many reasons Sacramento County just received national recognition for its website.
The Center for Digital Government announced publically today that Sacramento County’s website, took second place honors in its 2014 Best of the Web Awards. For 19 years they have recognized cities, counties and states throughout the U.S. for their outstanding portal websites. With this award, they have commended our ability to create a new website that makes online services and information tailored to handheld devices, and up to widescreen monitors.
Mobile access is the future of online communication, and increasingly people are going to our website for data, news, permits, and to request services using their smartphone or tablet. For that reason, the County made it a priority to make it easy to see information on small screens and remove the need to scroll side to side or zoom in wherever possible.
“Anyone who’s pulled up a website that is not optimized on a cell phone knows how important it is to create a website that is easily navigable and citizen-centric on any device,” said Bradley J. Hudson, County Executive.
Although responsive design is a complicated undertaking that few counties have taken on, the County was able to ditch its separate mobile website that demanded duplicate updating every time a change was made to the portal. Going to responsive design has streamlined the process and saved the County time and money.
Following the “mobile first” approach, the new website was created for handheld devices, and then scaled up to accommodate larger viewing sizes. As with all of our redesigns, readily available information, easy navigation and a visually appealing site were absolute musts. All content, including graphics, have been designed to scale smoothly, from one screen size to another. To design for mobile devices, we reorganized the content into tidy, intuitive navigation, as well as aligning information categories to that of the recently launched and very popular SacCountyNews, where our stories bring context to facts and relevancy to citizens on provided services.
The innovative use of technology on our website is also shown on 311 Connect, our permitting and licensing application page and the Open Data portal. The County’s 311 Connect web pages provide residents with an easy online form, with photo upload for requesting services, or reporting and tracking issues. Additionally, our permitting and licensing software to accept online applications and plans has reduced paper waste, response times, and increased productivity, as well as providing our Building Inspectors and Code Enforcement access to the software via iPads for real time inspections. Moreover, the County has a wealth of data available on its Open Data portal just waiting for innovative uses for everyone from software developers to media.
“We are just one of a handful of counties that offer an open data portal to provide access to commonly requested data sets online for the public to view or download to use in different applications. By doing this, the County saves more than $100,000 in labor cost each year to manually fulfill these common requests,” said County CIO Rami Zakaria.
In addition to the Best of the Web honors, the county also was recognized for the Center for Digital Government 2014 Achievement Awards (DGAA), which spotlights outstanding contributions for websites, project application and infrastructure. In the Government-to-Citizen Local Government category, Sacramento County was also a winner for 311 Connect.
Past Center for Digital Government Honors:
Best of the Web: 2013 4th; 2012 Finalist; 2006 4th; 2005 Finalist
Digital Government Achievement Awards: 2014 Government-to-Citizen Local Government category, SacCounty 311 Connect; 2013 Government-to-Business category, Aviation Shared Use Operating Environment at the Sacramento County Airport System; 2012 Driving Digital Government, Local Government category, Honorable Mention for Sacramento County Mobile Food Inspection Application
Digital Counties Survey Winner: 2014 4th; 2013 6th; 2012 8th; 2010 7th; 2009 2nd; 2008 6th; 2007 7th; 2006 7th; and 2004 6th
View all Sacramento County Awards.