EL SEGUNDO, Calif., Aug. 16, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Six cities and counties, from Florida to Alberta, Canada, were honored today when Vision announced the winners of the third annual "What's Next Awards" competition, which recognizes local government websites for excellence in citizen engagement, green gov, online innovation, transparency and visual impact.
"Citizen expectations for 24/7 service have increased dramatically since we introduced these awards three years ago," said Ashley Fruechting, senior director of strategic partnerships for Vision, a leading developer of software for local government that empowers government leaders to serve, inform and engage their communities.
"This year's group of winners reflect the kind of innovative forward-thinking that is inspiring municipal leaders everywhere to embrace their online presence and dedicate themselves to using technology to better serve their communities. They have taken the time to understand their citizens – who they are, what information they seek and how they prefer to access it," she said.
The 2016 What's Next Award winners are:
BEST ONLINE INNOVATION: City of Baytown, Texas baytown.org
For the second year in a row, Baytown was recognized for Online Innovation - this time for teaming with Google to provide virtual tours of its City parks and facilities. Online visitors simply click on a facility's front door to "walk in" or on a park overlay to explore activities. Vision's CMS tools were used to embed the tours directly in the website's content editors and facility directory.
BEST IN CITIZEN ENGAGEMENT: Collier County, Fla. Sheriff's Office colliersheriff.org
The Collier County Sheriff's Office was recognized for providing its 349,000 residents and 1.7 million annual visitors with easy access to its online resources. Its Vision-hosted website and social media make it easy for citizens to subscribe to Sheriff's Office news, view interactive crime maps, report nonviolent crimes, get real-time traffic updates and request public records. Better yet, this online service delivery is saving tax dollars and freeing up deputies to focus on more urgent situations.
BEST VISUAL IMPACT: Culver City, Calif. culvercity.org
Culver City's website, which reflects the energetic vibe of the city and highlights local restaurants, technology and entertainment, is tops for visual impact. The site's navigation was completely overhauled and features large buttons and photos that guide visitors to the most frequently visited pages with a single click. The Culver City site also leverages the mobile-friendly responsive design tools of visionCMS.
BEST TRANSPARENCY: City of Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta, Canada fortsask.ca
The City of Fort Saskatchewan created a highly interactive online "Budget Breakdown" of its 2016 budget, which, as a PDF, runs 439 pages. It features graphic buttons that present different budget categories and their respective percentage weight in relation to the total budget value. Users can click on each button, and a popup appears with a description of where and how the taxpayer's money is used. This information uses plain language, graphics and bullet lists to clearly communicate details while effectively highlighting the most important information. Like the rest of the website, the new section is accessible on social apps and mobile devices.
BEST GREEN GOV: Hanover Township, Illinois hanover-township.org
Hanover Township was recognized for posting all government documents on its website to reduce paper waste. Freedom of Information Act requests, job applications, volunteer inquiries and Senior Services registrations now can be accessed, submitted and processed electronically. All general, departmental and official Township requests may be electronically submitted and forwarded to the appropriate individual. Online newsletters also save a great deal of paper.
OVERALL EXCELLENCE: City of North Port, Fla. cityofnorthport.com
The City of North Port has long viewed its website as critical to attracting new residents, businesses and visitors to its Gulf Coast community. The website is central to keeping residents informed and connected to municipal services. A September 2015 mobile-friendly redesign resulted in a 46 percent increase in mobile site visitors. Links to social media and email notification tools are easily found on the site's front page. Parallax scrolling design creates an interactive user experience, and engaging visuals help tell North Port's story and foster a stronger sense of community pride.
For more information about Vision's transformative government website technology or to request a free website review and consultation, please call 888-263-8847 or visit info.visioninternet.com/free-consultation.
Headquartered in El Segundo, Calif., Vision is a national leader in government website development with more than 700 government, non-profit and education clients in U.S. and Canadian communities with populations that range from less than 1,000 residents to more than 5 million. For more than 20 years, Vision has created cost-effective solutions that increase government efficiency, transparency and interactive communications with citizens. The company's powerful, easy-to-use visionLive™ content management system continues to evolve with feedback from hundreds of municipal clients. In 2016, Vision was named to Government Technology magazine's GovTech 100, a listing of leading companies developing innovative or disruptive offerings to improve or transform government.
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SOURCE Vision Internet