With a bold background image of Delicate Arch and a search box front and center, the newly-designed Utah.gov borrows a page from Microsoft search engine Bing to help its residents find everything they need to know about their state government.
“Utahns are tech savvy and they expect their government to be the same,” said Utah Governor Gary Herbert in a press release announcing the updated design. “Economic development in the State has been a top priority and the new design focuses on utilizing the most innovative technology to better serve Utah citizens and business 24/7.”
The site was developed by Utah Interactive and NIC Inc., which manages 24 state Websites and a number of local and federal sites. According to an NIC representative via email, design for the new site began 18 months ago, with the first design sign-off 12 months later followed by a 6-month development process.
There’s an emphasis on location-specific search results with a “Near You” feature at the bottom of the page (ex: “There are 7 offices, 12 schools, 2 libraries, 1 park, and 4 public meetings in Park City”). While some of the site appears to still have legacy pages for various departments and agencies, Utah.gov makes great use of a universal navigation bar, which allows users to navigate easily through the site without feeling like they’re on a completely different Website. Open government and data geeks can easily access open data and visualizations.
According to the release, the site gets 1.2 million unique visitors a month and last year “processed more than 25.1 million secure electronic transactions through the official state website, mobile-optimized services, automated phone system, and point-of-purchase systems at retail outlets statewide.”
Update: See also Alex Howard’s review with updated coverage elsewhere.