In our most recent ELGL Digital Work Group, we continue to work out what is arguably ELGL’s front door: the website homepage. This is our first impression to current and potential members, so it’s important to put time into this element of the redesign.
For a handful of us that work on the digital information side of our city governments, we know how important prioritizing information placement can be for our residents. It’s easy to see through analytics that most come to government websites to get something done, such as pay a bill, look up refuse pick-up date or look for a job. Burying these items only frustrates users. Do we hope residents also scroll through our calendar of events, watch a council meeting and take a peek at our good news press releases? Yes, but we have to make sure the utility of getting business done is first and foremost.
But what about ELGL? Yes, we are a professional organization, but we’re also known for our constantly flowing fresh content. How do we prioritize what goes where? Or, why do people come to ELGL’s website… what is our “function?”
In a recent post, ELGL Executive Director Kirsten Wyatt likened ELGL’s website homepage to a reverse mullet, or party in the front, business in the back. When users visit ELGL.org, we want them to feel the same sense of excitement and passion we have for local government. We also know that it’s important to keep in mind why people come to our site. ELGL is different than a municipal government site. Our newsiness element, or fresh content peppered with lighthearted memes, is our cornerstone. So, fresh content is key. However, we must also make it easy for those looking to “get something done,” such as join the organization, renew their membership or register for our conference to find what they’re looking for. We know it shouldn’t take more than one or two click to get to our most important content.
In the end, those of us on the call felt part of ELGL’s “function” is the elements that make us different from other local government professional organizations. We are on the pulse of the future of local government and are constantly learning from our colleagues across the country. We want to make sure that this river of fresh content is one of the first things those visiting our site feel. Through working with Kevin at ProudCity, we’re also making sure the analytics of our current site (i.e: what business elements are people clicking most) are easily findable for someone coming to re-up a membership.
This is an exciting time for ELGL.org.