The City of Lakeville, MN, CivicAdvise, Partner for Best Government Website Design
Selecting the Right Consulting Partner
According to Barb Klausler, City of Lakeville Web Communications Specialist, it was an easy decision to select the team at CivicEngage for the City’s government website design partner.
“In the beginning, we spoke with three website design companies,” said Klausler. “The team from CivicEngage by far gave the best presentation, and the rep we worked with was great. He was knowledgeable and easy to work with as we completed our internal review and assessment project. He was extremely patient throughout the whole approval process. He stuck with us the whole time and was always very helpful.”
The Strategic Planning Process
The City of Lakeville’s previous civic website was managed solely by Klausler. Part of the goal of developing a new, easy-to-manage and maintain municipal website was to move to a platform that could be easily updated by multiple team members and department representatives. To ensure all key stakeholders and departments that would be helping to manage the website content moving forward were part of the strategic planning process, the CivicAdvise strategy sessions were conducted with the collaboration of a core group of strategic players that represented multiple departments.
“We had a core group involved in most of the planning,” said Klausler. “The team initially included me, our Communications Manager, our City Administrator, and Assistant City Administrator. Once we began really refining the content and deciding how all our site content was to be organized, our team expanded. We brought in various department heads and other key staff. The longer the process went on, the more people were involved. By the time we had our onsite training session, we had so many people involved that we filled up a whole conference room.”
What was most valuable to the team from the City of Lakeville in working with the CivicAdvise local government website design experts, was their ability to listen to the team’s goals and desires, and come back with a solution that exceeded expectations.
“At the beginning of the process, we didn’t know how to communicate what we wanted or needed,” remembers Klausler. “As we tried to describe the look and feel we wanted, our consultants were able to show us examples from other communities and even templates we could choose from that showcased exactly what we wanted. They really got it. They really understood what we were looking for. We’d say things like we wanted a layout that was ‘clean,’ or ‘less cluttered,’ or ‘easier to navigate,’ but we didn’t know what that would look like. They understood us, though. When our implementation manager showed us the preliminary designs, we saw exactly what we wanted.”
The onsite training session, conducted by a dedicated CivicEngage trainer, was also extremely helpful to Klausler and her extended team.
“Our onsite trainer was wonderful. She was so knowledgeable and patient and she did a fantastic job teaching our team everything we needed to know.”
After CivicAdvise and the City of Lakeville CivicEngage Website Launch
Not only has the City of Lakeville’s new CivicEngage website helped to better engage and inform citizens, it has been a valuable reference tool and resource for the City’s internal staff as well.
“The staff at the front desk love the new website,” said Klausler. “They tell us that they can now find anything they need, which has been especially helpful for them when they are on the phone helping citizens with inquiries.”
A Positive Return on Investment
When asked what aspect of the CivicAdvise consulting service was most valuable, Klausler points to the expert strategic design planning process.
“I found working with the consulting team especially valuable when we were planning the layout, design, and navigation,” said Klausler. “Our old website looked small town and felt less professional. Thanks to the help of our consultants we have really risen above that. Coming up with the structure, format, and overall look and feel was incredibly important and valuable.”
For Klausler, the guidance of experts with knowledge in local government website design was essential for the development of a new website the whole community could be proud of.
“Without the CivicEngage consultants, we wouldn’t have such a high-quality website today,” said Klausler. “Without a team guiding us who could understand what we wanted, when even we didn’t know exactly what we wanted, we wouldn’t have such a valuable resource and informative web presence today.”
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