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  • Success Story
  • Dodge County, WI

Dodge County provides responsive and efficient service with govAccess

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Broadband access remains one of the challenges rural communities face when working to create truly effective digital government experiences. While increasing their internet access availability, Dodge County, Wisconsin, built a website that provides a framework for responsive and efficient service thanks to govAccess – with a community response that reflects the culture shift to digital services.

It really helped us achieve our overall goals and priorities, especially providing greater transparency and being able to provide fresh and relevant information.
Susie Mueller, IT Continuous Improvement Coordinator, Dodge County


  • 1,000 open records requests in the last year from a population of just under 90,000
  • 3,000+ responses to vaccine information
  • 30 different departments Involved in digital engagement
  • Digital efficiencies and time savings for residents despite addressing a broadband access gap
Must have Granicus Solutions

Though it sits adjacent to the county that houses the state’s capitol, Dodge County, Wisconsin, reflects some of the issues that impact rural counties throughout the country.

“We’re rural, very rural,” said Susie Mueller, Dodge County’s IT Continuous Improvement Coordinator. “The county seat alone, has a Subway and another restaurant or two and that’s about it.”

Dodge’s population of just under 90,000 residents might seem dwarfed by neighboring Dane County, home to Madison and over 560,000 residents who call it home. But the need for digital modernization and efficient online services remains just as strong despite the difference in population size.

“There’s a big push for broadband and the smaller communities do have trouble with connections,” said Mueller. “It’s going to be a problem for a while yet, even though that's part of the County’s strategic plan to address.”

Despite the infrastructure challenges to modernize internet access, in her 16 years as the self-described “go-to person” for the county’s digital services Mueller says she’s seen an uptick in both the interest in, and need for, positive digital experiences for both residents and county staff.

“It’s evolved through the years, of course” she said of the role that digital services, and her role, have played in the county’s work identifying ways to bring efficiencies to department processes through the proper pairing of need and technology solution.

As someone whose daily duties involve many different facets beyond the website, being able to connect clearly with both staff and community members is something that Mueller said she finds vital in her work.

The shared interest in building digital experiences to meet resident needs, while also building a framework for future technological growth, came to a head for Dodge County, like it did for communities large and small, during the COVID pandemic. Increasing resident engagement when people couldn’t come to the county offices to do business required online solutions and a chance for Mueller and the Web Governance Team to grow the digital presence and start to shift the culture regarding technology within the county offices.


Having worked with Granicus products, such as govAccess, for over 12 years, Mueller knew she could rely on a responsive relationship to help create a framework that both met the challenges of the pandemic, while also positioning for future digital evolution.

“It's just such a comfortable company,” she said of her relationship over the years. “Support, communication, [they’re] right on it.”

Fueled by a website redesign a few years prior, Mueller along with County Editors and the team at Granicus maintained regular contact to identify ways to improve the tools available for residents through the county’s website, as well as how to best prioritize content for the most impactful engagement, regardless of internet speed or access to broadband.

“The needs for users have changed,” said Mueller. “With people reaching out through websites more than in person, we worked to make that experience a lot cleaner and clearer. We regrouped the website and made sure that somebody coming to visit the site isn’t randomly looking at pages and trying to find what they’re looking for. I think that was really important for us to address.”

The idea of clarity extended to all levels of digital communication, including email notifications and an increase in self-service options and resources.

“Communication is huge,” said Mueller. “The ease of website use helps users, but also brings the County savings in resources and creates efficiencies for departments. Having an application that is very easy to use helps in making it possible for us to increase the number of people engaging and learning how to use the back end of the website. I'm always excited when I get to train somebody new because that's a new set of eyes, new set of ideas.”

The ease-of-use creating digital experiences in govAccess helped Mueller reinforce the benefit of digital government in meeting resident needs while also offering new ways for other departments to leverage benefits from digital tools.

“It was very eye opening for a lot of people,” she said. “We use it for a lot of our law enforcement forms or for open records requests. We use it for even some of our health forms that don’t have to include personal and identifiable information. Those are the kinds of forms where we often see a bottleneck with intake.”


The impact of the 2020 redesign developed with govAccess not only made an impact in addressing the immediate needs of the pandemic, but also helped move a culture shift both for residents and staff in Dodge County.

“It really helped us achieve our overall goals and priorities, especially providing greater transparency and being able to provide fresh and relevant information,” said Mueller.

She added that govAccess widgets such as the accordion widget, instantly became popular with staff and users alike, in a way that’s easy to interact instead of the longer pages that you had to scroll and scroll to view.

The ease-of-use has also helped increase participation from departments as varied as the Aging Disability Resource Center and Child Support to Emergency Management and Land Resources engaging with the website.

“We have about 30 departments that add to the website,” said Mueller. “All use it a little differently to tell their stories.”

The ability to create user-friendly URLs also helped connect services for engagement materials around events, connecting brochures and QR codes more directly with relevant information. One such case was when Dodge County’s Public Health Department wanted to provide a COVID-related form related to school vaccinations only accessible through a dedicated URL. Based on the success of that process, Mueller expanded the process to extend to vaccine interest forms for the entire county, which saw almost 3,000 responses.

Being able to report detailed analytics through the govAccess CMS also helped Mueller and the Web Governance Committee use the success of the new digital services to help grow enthusiasm about digital government.

“I love the analytics,” she said. “To be able to provide those different graphs to people and to export everything into Excel, to actually hand off that information to them, it’s great.”

For users, still waiting to fully embrace broadband access in the county, features such as responsive design are important to not only provide a positive experience on whatever device they use, it helps Mueller and staff stay agile with technological growth. With over 1,000 open records requests already submitted through the website, it’s clear that community members are ready and willing to engage with the digital experience provided by Dodge County, even as the county works to close the broadband access gap.

“With so many of our community using their cell phones or iPads, responsive design is one of the biggest things,” she said. “The website has helped alleviate many phone calls for services and also provides an avenue to residents and businesses to be more digital, by providing a more service-centric approach. The backend makes it so much easier to publish pages versus the old HTML days where I had to upload everything. It was so clunky and cumbersome. But now, it makes it easy for all departments to work together. I think that’s really important for constituents to see, and to convey that on a webpage.”