City governments embrace responsive web design


A few enterprising cities are embracing responsive web design and content management systems. Sheboygan County,Wisconsin announced it would be using VisionCMS, a content management system from Vision Internet, a government website service provider. Burbank, California is also an early adopter of the service and both are giving it high marks for improving service delivery.

VisionCMS was pilot tested last fall and formally launched in early 2013, and is meant to help local governments expedite and streamline citizen access to local government news and information increasing transparency and saving taxpayer dollars. Sheboygan County, Wisconsin the first government entity to incorporate the new website content management tools, reported that employee web related requests to the County’s IT Help Desk have been reduced by nearly 80% since it launched its redesigned website in late January.

The city of Burbank, California will launch is newly redesigned government websites using vision CMS in the coming weeks. City officials there noted that making updates using their old systems was so time consuming it was drawing them away from their actual jobs. The new visionCMS allows individual city departments to set up their own content review reminders on a weekly, monthly or quarterly basis, streamlining the process for updates and ensuring the latest information is always available to citizens.

Vision Internet’s system is built upon standard Microsoft ASP.NET and SQL Server technology. The company provides a variety of maintenance and service plans, including hosting, and support over a variety of fee structures. The company also offers to redesign government websites for free after a certain number of years of consistently paid account standing.

The company said it rolled out the new CMS in direct response to feedback from its government clients. Many of which have websites that are several years old and face significant challenges to update as-is.

“Vision Internet has given us the ability to put information out there as soon as it’s available,” said Josh McDermott, Sheboygan County IT manager. “County employees can log into the CMS from home, work, anywhere that has Internet access, to update their departmental information and forms. It’s a huge time-saver. And because it’s so easy to use, it eliminates the IT bottleneck and keeps information current for the public.”