The Value of a Demo When Choosing a Government Website Design Solution

Written by Rachael Walker

You wouldn’t buy a car without a test drive, and you wouldn’t buy a house without a walk through. When it comes to making an in investment in a content management system (CMS), using taxpayer dollars, the same amount of consideration should be made. Before purchasing a local government content management system (CMS), take the time to view a demonstration of the system—both the administrative interface and the external user interface. Here are six reasons why local governments should view a demo before selecting a new government website design partner.

1. A demo allows you to view scalability.

There is no such thing as a one-size-fits all CMS. The communication, security, and administrative needs of a township of less than 1,000 citizens differ greatly compared with those of a large city with over 100,000 citizens. A demonstration will allow you to validate if the CMS is scalable to fit your needs. Need a dozen administrative user accounts with various access levels? Ask to see the admin set-up. Are you a one-man communications department that needs automated tools to expedite internal workflows? Ask to see how long it takes to create a web page, form, or photo gallery. If the solution can’t be scaled to fit your needs, it’s not the right fit.

2. A demo will prove design flexibility.

If you’re looking to design a website that is a true reflection of your community, you need flexibility in design. If a CMS demonstration reveals a limited number of predetermined layout templates with the ability to only customize minor details, such as background color or font, the CMS may not be flexible enough for your community.

3. A demo unveils functionality.

You likely already know many of the features and functionality that you need from your civic website, such as form submissions, community calendars, live video, and citizen request management. Ask to see how such features are implemented or added to pages within the CMS. If the demonstration proves the system offers the functionality you need, you’re on the right track.


4. A demo reveals technical knowledge requirements.

Maybe you or someone on your staff is an HTML, CSS, and JavaScript coding expert. Likely, however, you’re looking for a CMS that doesn’t require custom coding just to add a page, embed a photo, or change a font style. When viewing a demo of a CMS, if adding content means hand coding, and doing so is outside of your skill set, you may need a more intuitive CMS solution.

5. A demo proves integration capabilities.

Every municipality uses third-party systems to successfully manage their options. A CMS built to accommodate the data integration needs of local government will offer proven solutions for feeding and
receiving third-party data, so that a website redesign does not negatively impact operations. You will know a system has proven capabilities if API connectors already exist and are accessible using solutions such as Zapier.

6. A demo proves industry knowledge and expertise.

The needs of the public sector are unique. If you’re considering a CMS that has been built primarily to serve the private sector, be sure it can accommodate the needs of your administration. Does the CMS offer robust transparency document management? Does it allow you to disseminate urgent news and information? Can citizens download and submit job applications? If a prospective vendor’s demo proves they don’t have the knowledge or experience to accommodate the needs of local government, you may want to consider a partner with civic expertise.

If you’re ready to invest in a scalable, future-proofed CMS that will enable you to meet your civic engagement needs, be sure to request a demo from every government content management system provider on your short list of possible partners.

To schedule a demo of CivicEngage, our easy-to-use, and flexible CMS that has been designed specifically for local governments, click the link below.

Sign up for a demonstration of the CivicEngage government content management system