7 Mobile App Development Tips for Local Government

Digital technology and apps can be used by local and city governments to improve citizen engagement and transparency and accordingly, digital government initiatives are popping up everywhere.

Is your city or county thinking about developing a mobile app?

If so and you’re at a loss on where to begin, we have some tips to be mindful of before taking the plunge into smartphone app development.

Knowing your audience and being mindful of simplicity are two of the top things to watch out for, but we have compiled a crack list of app dos and don’ts, so you don’t have to:

  • Keep it simple. There is no need to overdo it, be mindful of simplicity. The app should mean one thing when you publicize it. Multiple functions may require a separate app or system.
  • Be flexible and open to ideas. Engage with other departments in the design and functionality of the app. There may be pre-existing knowledge so why do the same work again?
  • Know your audience. The Internet is increasingly accessed more frequently via mobile solutions. Due to the low initial cost (compared to laptops or desktop PCs) a mobile offers a broader reach to sections of the community, including young people and those in lower income brackets. You need to plan your outreach accordingly.
  • Keep it relevant. What functions and issues are the community most concern with? Design your app to be be more than just a issue reporting program.
  • Location, location, location. If your app doesn’t have a spatial or location component to it and it is not possible to extract GIS information from the app, you’re more than missing a key component.
  • Data integration. Make sure the mobile app is compatible with existing work order or dispatch systems. Trying to bridge systems is a waste of money and staff time.
  • Cross-platform support. Make sure all platforms are catered for. You don’t want a situation whereby only two-thirds of the public can interact with their local government easily because you decide to only develop on one platform.

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