Utah Website Redesign Looks to Capture a Younger Audience

Drawing on user survey results, Utah has revamped how its official website presents services in order to reach younger generations. The state plans to offer even more services soon through its “Next Gen Citizen Portal.”

Screenshot of the homepage of the state of Utah government website.
Image Courtesy of Utah
Utah has launched a redesigned version of its state website, Utah.gov, to offer a more intuitive and dynamic digital experience to all residents — younger citizens in particular.

“The redesign was prompted by a study that focused on what citizens were looking for,” said Dave Fletcher, the state’s chief technology officer, later adding that Utah is “one of the youngest states in the country with a growing sector of users that fall into the millennial and Gen Z category.”

The state partnered with NIC Utah, a wholly owned subsidiary of Tyler Technologies, to handle the redesign. Using the results of a 2019 survey as a guide, NIC Utah was able to flesh out the redesign of Utah.gov and put together a mockup of the site in 2020. With the state’s changing demographics in mind, several changes — from improving page load times to revamping Utah.gov’s mobile site to introducing a chatbot to assist users with finding services — were made to attract new users.

“[The survey] helped inform the changes we made, especially in terms of what young adults were looking for when accessing the site,” NIC Utah’s General Manager Brett Stott said.

The survey found a significant increase in traffic from mobile devices compared to desktops, along with statistics about what millennial and Gen Z users prefer when accessing the site.

“Almost 80 percent of young adults preferred that all state and local services could be accessed in one place,” Stott said. “Sixty percent also didn’t know what services were available online.”

The crux of the redesign, he said, was making sure that everything was balanced, both in terms of not throwing away things people are used to when accessing the site while also making features more accessible and easier to use.

In addition to the redesign, Utah has also added services, such as passport procurement and obtaining park passes to the state’s national parks, to the state’s mobile app, Gov2Go.

“We rolled out about 20 different services to the Gov2Go platform,” Fletcher said, adding that users can schedule COVID-19 vaccine appointments online.

Fletcher said many services have moved online over the last year or so due to the pandemic. Because of this shift, the state has started working on its “Next Gen Citizen Portal” to make more government services available on the Internet.

“The next step is making services more integrated across the board,” Fletcher said. “The Next Gen Citizen Portal will give users access to more services and notify them about important dates like when to renew their fishing license or when their vehicle’s registration is due.”

Traditionally, citizens have received notifications through a combination of postcards, emails and text messages. Once the new system is operational, Fletcher said, all notifications will be fully automated.

“We are working to implement additional measures to make sure users’ privacy is protected — really ensuring that you can securely access data and services,” Fletcher said.

Once those privacy measures are in place, users can utilize the Next Gen Citizen Portal to access more information about government services, along with visiting Utah.gov and using the state’s mobile app.

“Our administration is focusing on fundamentally changing the way government interacts with people, giving them access to more information and more data than they have ever had before,” Gov. Spencer Cox said in an emailed release. “The improvements to Utah.gov were designed to present information and services in a way that both make sense and make it easy to parse through.”
Katya Maruri is a staff writer for Government Technology. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a master’s degree in global strategic communications from Florida International University, and more than five years of experience in the print and digital news industry.
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