One Year After New Website Launch, Accomack County Reports Increased Transparency, Efficiency and Public Engagement
May 13, 2014 - Accomack County, VA
A year after launching a new local government website, Accomack County, Va. reports that County government now is more transparent, accessible and efficient for residents, visitors and businesses. Launched in May 2013, the site, www.co.accomack.va.us, was developed in partnership with the online government experts at Vision Internet.
Prior to launching the new site, Accomack County's online presence consisted of four different websites: the County's main site and individual sites designed for the public safety department, the sheriff's department and one that promoted business development on Virginia's Eastern Shore.
"The new website has unified our county's online presence and created a one-stop-shop for people and businesses to find information on Accomack County," said Mike Mason, Accomack County's director of finance. "We are thrilled with the new website and the increased level of transparency we now have. The new site has taken a lot of the burden off our Information Technology team. They no longer have to draft every piece of content, but still maintain control over approval cycles and workflow management."
Vision Internet's newest content management system, visionCMS, allows Accomack County departments outside of IT to change content and keep it fresh, while protecting the integrity of the site's look and feel. Fonts remain the same from one section to the next and the design is consistent throughout the site.
Accomack County Deputy Director of Information Technology Ben Fox said, "Redesigning our website with an easy-to-use content management system was the only way we could truly maintain an up-to-date site. One of the problems with our old website was that all updates had to go through one person, which resulted in slow posting times. So not only was our old site elementary and antiquated, but almost all of its content was stale and no longer relevant."
A total of 10 staff members now are involved in updating the County website.
"One of the positive byproducts of enabling departments to update their own site content, is that they've begun to take ownership and feel responsible for what's out there in the public domain, and they put a lot of effort into keeping that content fresh," Fox said.
Another plus of the new site is the integration of visionMobile, which dynamically configures the website for mobile devices. "We have nearly 10,000 visits a month to the new site and more than 1,000 of those visits are from mobile devices," Fox reported.
The site now is a two-way communication portal, pushing information out and asking for public input and feedback. Among the County's new community engagement tools are online job applications, a county calendar of events, and online forms to report a variety of issues ranging from general citizen concerns to suspicious activities.
A new Government section called "Board-Appointed Bodies" allows interested residents to submit online applications to serve on any of the more than 30 boards, commissions, authorities and committees the Accomack County Board of Supervisors must fill. In addition, the site's RFP and bid module is proving to be a valuable economic development tool that benefits both the county and local businesses by making it easy to see what projects are open.
The new website also plays a central role in keeping the public informed during the budget process. During the recent budget cycle, a budget page on the site shared a synopsis of each budget meeting with links to documents that were handed out. The Finance Department sent an email promoting the new page and encouraging organizations that receive county funding to follow the progress.
"For the first time, the county's entire budget process was transparent and available to the public online," said Mason. "Personally, I wasn't too quick to offer our website address before we launched the new site. Now we're encouraging people to go there. Accomack County's new website is one of our bigger success stories of the year. It's something our entire county is proud of."
For more information about Vision Internet's transformative government website technology, call 888-263-8847 or visit http://www.visioninternet.com/inforequest.
About Vision Internet
Headquartered in Santa Monica, Calif., Vision Internet is a national leader in government website development with more than 500 government, non-profit and education clients in U.S. and Canadian communities with populations that range from less than 1,000 residents to more than 5 million. The company creates cost-effective solutions that increase government efficiency, transparency and interactive communications with citizens. Over the past 18 years, the company has earned hundreds of prestigious awards for its unique websites, including numerous 3CMA Savvy Awards. In 2013, Vision Internet launched visionCMS, a powerful, easy to use content management system developed with feedback from hundreds of municipal clients. For more information visit www.visioninternet.com.