Gov. McDonnell announces launch of new website
© Culpeper TimesRICHMOND – Virginia has redesigned and launched an entirely new version of its official state website, Virginia.gov, Governor Bob McDonnell announced on Friday, Jan. 4.
“The Commonwealth has a national record of providing outstanding citizen services online,” said Governor McDonnell. “The new Virginia.gov continues this tradition by streamlining access to Virginia government through one efficient Web portal.
“Internet service delivery has changed significantly since Virginia launched its first government website in 1997,” Governor McDonnell added. “Today, our citizens are enjoying faster connections and often using mobile devices. Our job as a website provider has not changed, however; we must efficiently deliver information and services that our citizens, businesses and visitors need.”
The site has an inviting new look backed by an efficient architecture focused on improving citizen usability. It provides citizens with easy-to-use Web access to Virginia government information and services. An all-new mobile version also has been launched. This website, also known as the state portal, directs visitors to the many online offerings of Virginia agencies faster and more efficiently.
The new website enhances Virginia’s image as one of the nation’s best states in which to operate a business and raise a family. It provides direct access to information that businesses looking to start up, locate or expand can use, enhancing economic development and job creation efforts.
Five rounds of formal citizen usability testing were conducted on the desktop and mobile versions. Citizen users participated in a series of real-world scenarios during each test. Their responses drove enhancements.
“We have measurably improved our service delivery through this new website by focusing on the user’s experience with government tasks,” Governor McDonnell said. “Use of this quantifiable process will help us continue to improve going forward.”
The new www.virginia.gov site loads more quickly, both on desktop and mobile versions. Task times to complete and success rates of task completion also are improved. The same tasks were tested on the previous version of the website and the new site in order to validate the comparison. A user survey is prominently displayed on the home page of the website; ongoing refinements and enhancements will continue based on further usability best practices.
The Virginia Information Technologies Agency (VITA) led the public procurement, which established the contracts and managed administration of the project. Multiple agency representatives helped define the mission, vision and requirements for the new website during both the procurement and design processes.
Service providers for the website all are Virginia-based. Website architecture, construction and usability testing were performed through a contract between the commonwealth and CapTech of Richmond. Big River, a Richmond-based advertising agency, provided design work through CapTech. The site is hosted by AIS Networks of Falls Church. The commonwealth will continue to manage the website.