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  • Success Story
  • Gainesville, FL

How Gainesville, FL, Transformed its Digital Presence

2023 Website of the Year Winner

Metrics

  • 30% increase in website traffic
  • 12% increase in mobile traffic
  • 73% of users say they can find information easily
  • UX+ More user friendly and mobile responsive website
Must have Granicus Solutions
Overview

Centrally located among several major Florida cities, Gainesville serves as the cultural, educational, and commercial hub for the state’s north central region. The city’s population is nearing 150,000 and continues to experience growth. Gainesville has moved toward a people-centered government model and wanted a website that made it easier for residents to engage and connect.

The city implemented Granicus digital solutions OpenCities and OpenForms to achieve its goals. Gainesville’s transformative design and prioritization of user needs allowed the city to improve resident engagement. As a result, Gainesville received the 2023 Granicus Digital Government Website of the Year and People’s Choice Awards.

Situation

Improving Site Responsiveness and Accessibility

Gainesville’s website was hosted on an outdated platform and its structure was antiquated. Rather than present relevant information in a way that was easy for users to navigate, the site instead reflected the city’s departmental structure. The site was not user friendly, nor was it responsive to meet the needs of the increasing number of mobile and tablet users in the community. Additionally, Gainesville’s site had limited accessibility for visually impaired users and non-native English speakers.

"Improved accessibility was an important goal for us. We aimed to have a multilingual, user-friendly experience for individuals of all ages and abilities.”
Laura Rawson, Creative Services Supervisor, City of Gainesville
Solution

Modernizing an Outdated Web Presence Using Digital Tools

The city adopted a data-driven approach, backed by site metrics and comprehensive user feedback, to guide its website enhancement strategy. Through thoughtful design and implementation, Gainesville created a modern platform to successfully address the changing needs of residents.

Gainesville worked closely with Granicus to move from a department-informed information architecture to one that was more solution-based and intuitive. Granicus’ OpenCities and OpenForms solutions simplified the design process and helped the city create a clean, functional website that works for residents. These enhancements provided greater accessibility, enhanced website navigation, and improved content to foster an exceptional user experience, and were pivotal in helping Gainesville achieve Web Content Accessibility Guidelines AA compliance.

Results

Unlocking a More Meaningful User Experience

One year after the website’s launch, Gainesville is reaping the rewards of its redesign efforts. The city conducted usability tests to identify the site’s strengths and areas in need of improvement. A newly installed feedback widget helps Gainesville measure metrics in near real-time so adjustments can quickly be made.

The site’s search functionality has improved content organization, with over 70% of users reporting satisfaction in finding what they are looking for. Additionally, 62% of users find the site easy to use and 66% said the website creates a positive experience. Gainesville’s website has seen a 30% increase in overall traffic, and a 12% rise in mobile visitors.

“The results of our efforts speak for themselves. Together, we’ve turned challenges into solutions to offer a user experience like we’ve never offered before for our community.”
John John, Service Design Strategist, City of Gainesville