State and local governments are investing more into their websites, but according to two new studies, they're often falling short of expectations. Over the past 10 months, CivicPlus researched how governments deliver content to citizenry, what citizens expect, and the disparity between the two — and there was a disparity, researchers found.
“This study shows that there is a clear gap between what citizens want from their government websites and what the governments are delivering,” said Ward Morgan, CEO of CivicPlus. “We believe that this disconnect needs to be addressed and our research has shed light on this issue. Now, it’s time to use this information and help citizens and their governments re-connect and utilize technology to interact and engage each other.”
The study, called Digital Disconnect: The Gaps Between Government-to-Citizen Online Interactions, found that 46 percent of citizens surveyed wanted the ability to pay bills or fees online, and 61 percent said they wanted the ability to pay registration fees online. However, only 23 percent of surveyed government websites allow citizens to pay parking fines and registration fees online, and 53 percent of government websites had online bill pay.
The study also found that 99 percent of citizens use the Internet at least once per week, which means that “there is an expectation of government websites to provide more everyday connectivity to citizen users," according to the study. "…Governments need to establish a process for promoting their websites, the functionality available and the different ways in which they seek to communicate with citizens.”
The full study outlining the disconnect between what citizens want from government websites and what they actually receive can be found on CivicPlus.com.