Raleigh puts city services front and center
Raleigh, North Carolina: The City of Raleigh is one of the fastest growing metropolitan areas, is home to the largest research park in the U.S., and ranked in the top 10 places to live. An innovator among municipalities, the City partnered with Aten Design Group to upend existing municipal website norms and launch a human-centered, service-first website for its residents.
Roughly 3 in 4 Raleigh residents say RaleighNC.gov is their top source of information about the City. These users have varying technical skill and they need to engage the City in a variety of ways. The diversity of the audience and breadth of content on the City’s website posed a significant challenge.
As organizations, municipalities are typically structured as a series of semi-autonomous departments: fire, police, transportation, sanitation, etc. As a result, many municipalities orient their websites around their departmental org chart. This is not an intuitive structure for residents: navigating a website department-by-department is confusing to people who just want to pay their water bill or find a park.
Aten and Raleigh took a service-first approach, putting all city services front and center. Residents can now find their local representative or a bus schedule without the need to know which department they fall under. To refine how services are presented, Aten conducted live, in-person usability tests with residents and stakeholders in order to find the best way to intuitively organize and label key city services.
Open Source Opens Doors
In order to be good stewards of the public trust, the City moved its website from a proprietary content management system and embraced open source technology for its new website. The new RaleighNC.gov is built on Drupal 8, an open source content management system and developer framework that powers 1 in 50 websites across the internet.
- The City now leverages one of the world’s largest development communities to cost-effectively add sophisticated functionality to their website.
- The City’s new website will continue to be valuable long into the future due to Drupal’s modular architecture and seamless updates to future versions of Drupal.
- Since the City now controls their website’s source code, they're not limited by their platform or locked into a licensing agreement with a sole-source vendor.
The City chose to work with Aten because Aten has over a decade of experience launching secure, high-traffic websites on open source platforms like Drupal and WordPress. Aten is a Premium Supporting Partner of the Drupal Association, contributes code to the project, and shares expertise at Drupal conferences.
Aten Design Group (aten.io) is a digital strategy, design, and development company. Founded in 2000, Aten helps passionate, cause-driven organizations promote positive change all over the world by delivering information to the right audience with the greatest impact. Aten serves clients in a broad range of fields spanning education, government, advocacy, activism, conservation, healthcare, and international development.
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