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  • Success Story
  • Grand Prairie, Texas

Grand Prairie’s Website Rebuild Emphasizes Mobile Efficiency

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Everything’s bigger in Texas—even the municipal websites. For the City of Grand Prairie, a bustling suburb east of Dallas, that was a problem. The city’s residents struggled to navigate the outdated, text-heavy interface while staff became bogged down with inefficient manual processes. Grand Prairie needed a website overhaul that made finding information and communicating with the government easy.

“The calls to our switchboard dropped dramatically. That showed us that residents could find what they needed instead of giving up on the website and just calling us for the answer.”
Steve Rios, Webmaster, City of Grand Prairie, Texas


  • 15% reduction in dropped searches
  • 225 online forms now available
  • Improved functionality for mobile users
  • Reduction in switchboard calls
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A Texas-Sized Mess

The Grand Prairie website received nearly 1 million visits yearly as residents sought information on everything from building permits to pet adoptions.

While the information was abundant, the site’s navigation frustrated both users and government employees. The navigation menus were overfull, and the site’s internal search engine offered few customization options to ensure the most relevant content appeared in site search results.

The site also relied heavily on PDFs. At least 15 city departments required citizens to download and fill out PDFs to request certain services, which then had to be manually inputted by a city employee.

“More than anything, we needed to become more efficient,” said Ana Enriquez, City Communications and Marketing Supervisor.


Create a Modernized Site with an Emphasis on Efficiency

To rebuild its website, Grand Prairie turned to OpenCities from Granicus with three goals in mind:

  • Increase mobile-friendly online options for city services.
  • Make it easier for constituents to find content on the city website.
  • Improve content on the page level to make it easier for citizens to understand information.

OpenCities leverages robust data and analytics to provide cities like Grand Prairie with powerful content and design tools.

“Along with our own goals, we met with each department and got a better understating of their goals and what their top tasks were,” Enriquez said. “That gave us a clear action plan to tackle what we knew citizens need from the site.”

The first step was to improve navigation. The designers placed a search bar in the header of the site, making it easy to locate and use. The search function leveraged the “best bets” tool within the OpenCities CMS to ensure the most relevant content for keywords would appear in site search results. That helped ensure website users found relevant content quickly.

The community calendar, one of the most popular pages on the site, was given a new layout and included multiple ways to access event information, including a calendar grid view, event listing view, options to search by keyword, date, and category, and a gallery of photos from social media.

And then, finally, the site did away with the abundance of PDFs in exchange for a solution that incorporated OpenForms to create as many mobile-friendly online form options as possible in place of in-person or mail-in submission requirements.


Information at Everyone’s Fingertips

The results were almost immediate. The easier-to-use site saw search exits drop from 19.48% between March of 2021 and 2022 to just 4.67% the next year.

After starting the project with just 73 online forms on the city website in 2020, the city now offers 138, with the number continuing to grow. Self-service options exist for 114 forms of permits, licenses, and plans. There are currently 225 total online forms available.

“The calls to our switchboard dropped dramatically,” City Webmaster Steve Rios said. “That showed us that residents could find what they needed instead of giving up on the website and just calling us for the answer.”

City workers also leveraged the site more. When a call accidentally reaches the wrong department, employees can now go on the site and find the correct information to help the residents quicker. Before, those calls were often routed to multiple departments before reaching the correct person to help.

The site’s dramatic improvement has also been noticed outside of Grand Prairie. Granicus recently awarded the city 3rd Place in the Website of the Year category in the 2023 Digital Government Awards.