Publicus Blog

Proposing a Smarter Approach to Government Service Delivery4 min read

How accessible and intuitive online tools can foster and strengthen the relationship between government and its people

Now more than ever, government agencies are in need of easily accessible online tools to better serve their citizens. According to a survey by leading government consultancy, McKinsey & Company, citizens prefer to interact with the government online, yet are often dissatisfied with the experience. *

When a citizen comes online to register a car, pay a parking ticket, or apply for benefits, the agency handling the transaction has a double opportunity. First, to receive a payment or sign up a citizen, and second, to gain the trust of that citizen. Say the person leaves the site in frustration. Not only does the payment or task go unfinished, but the opportunity to gain trust is lost.

Of course all agencies want to provide the right services to the right people. Yet so often the technologies used are neutral at best, or a barrier at worst. The tools may be too opaque and without clear directives. Or, perhaps there wasn’t enough time or thought applied during development for user experience and content strategy. The technical requirements of the effort have been met, but the service or tool remains inaccessible to the people it needs to reach.

Change is possible

GovWebworks believes that technology can bridge the gap between government agencies and citizens. To that end, we provide innovative, user-centric solutions that deliver immediate impact to citizens.

“Not only it is our belief that accessible, easy-to-use online tools can foster and strengthen the relationship between government and its people,” says Tom Lovering of GovWebworks. “But our mission is to provide these tools in a transparent and user-friendly manner that makes life easier for government agencies and the citizens they serve.”

When seeking to improve online tools, agencies face many obstacles, including:

  • The cost of upgrades to design and technologies
  • Departmental silos that make consensus difficult, forcing design by committee
  • Legacy technologies that have been around forever and are hard to change

By bringing in an outside consultant such as GovWebworks, change can happen faster and produce better results. We focus on the following priorities:

  1. User-Centric Design
    We depend on data and a research-driven approach to inform design and content decisions. This approach is nowhere more vital than in government, where public accountability is a very real consideration. We let the function drive the form, building accessible tools that work intuitively on any device and ensure citizen engagement and satisfaction.
  2. Agile Project Management
    We gravitate towards Agile’s transparent, flexible process. It allows us to work in incremental steps to manage expectations for scope and timeline. Its high-communication approach helps bring together the disparate departmental silos through an ongoing feedback cycle. Ultimately, our preference of “working software over extensive documentation” keeps the focus on delivering an optimal solution.
  3. Contemporary Technologies
    Wherever possible we rely on proven open-source technologies and scalable cloud-based infrastructure to deliver the best possible product at the lowest price. Our tools are enterprise grade, which means fully tested, interoperable, and scalable, thus ensuring reliable performance for many years. We help agencies take ownership of the tools we deliver, and by favoring open-source we minimize the chance of vendor “lock-in.” The low or no license fees also limit the cost burden on already constrained budgets.

Founded in experience

GovWebworks is an operating division of Portland Webworks, founded in 2016 to focus on the needs of government clients. Beginning in 2002, Portland Webworks supported the Maine Office of Tourism’s online presence for more than eight years. Since then, we’ve expanded our work in the public sector to almost a dozen states across the country. We now serve agencies in Idaho, Iowa, Washington, California, Colorado, Missouri, Mississippi, and our most recent partnership with the Vermont Judiciary.

Portland Webworks remains the parent company, representing the entirety of our interests and accomplishments. GovWebworks takes up the reins specifically to serve our public sector clientele.

Moving forward in action

In our effort is to help government agencies and the people they serve, GovWebworks is developing an active voice in this market. Here’s how:

  • Provide thought-provoking content in this blog about the challenges we all face (and some solutions)
  • Engage directly with our audience through trade events, email, and social media
  • Educate ourselves continually in the ever-changing landscape of service delivery in order to provide the most informed and responsive consultation

Our invitation to you

  • Share the issues you face with online public-sector services in the comments section of this blog
  • Follow us on Twitter to broaden the conversation
  • Sign up for our email list in the box to the right
  • Contact us to schedule a free consultation

We look forward to the chance to listen, and to provide vital solutions.

*McKinsey & Company: How US state governments can improve customer service

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