Texas launches new single-page Web portal

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While some state websites are moving toward mobile-first, Texas’ state website is trying a new kind of first.

The new Texas.gov is the first state website to exist solely all on one page. The move toward a single-page design promises to make it easier for Lone Star State constituents to navigate state services.

The site, which launched May 2, was designed by the Texas subsidiary of NIC, which has become a growing force in the design and operation of a number of state websites, including a new website launched last month in Utah.

“Texas.gov has reimagined the portal experience with the launch of the first-ever single-page ‘find it your way’ state government website that has a Texas charm all its own,” a NIC representative said in statement.

In order to truly embrace a single-page design, Texas.gov is driven primarily around search — something that, according to Texas.gov’s Marketing Manager Erika Whitt, one in every six Texas.gov visits already had. In fact, search is present in multiple parts of the site and helps users find the most popular services in several different categories.

The new layout also features a search-driven “find it” tab that allows users to filter their results based on what exactly they are looking for through search terms and categories to narrow the search.

“In order to make the single-page portal possible, the ‘find it’ data table is the engine that powers a sortable, filterable ‘find it your way’ experience,” NIC said.

The use of the “find it” tool will consolidate dozens of pages of hierarchy and content with an organized method for users to access thousands of state government links in a way that makes the most sense to them, NIC said.

In addition to an easily navigable and searchable single-page design, NIC also touted the site’s home feel. In several areas, the website invokes Texas and southern-style slang and features photos from all across the state to break up the different sections.

“Really what we were trying to accomplish with our redesign for 2015 was continuing down the path of trying to simplify access to government services for citizens,” Whitt told StateScoop.  “Giving them a way to interact with the portal in the way that’s most comfortable and makes the most sense to them and then really streamlining the site down to exactly what we know people want and need on Texas.gov.”

New features on the site also include a map interface that allows a user to find out where to access certain services across the state. In addition to the map, the state also rolled out a social media hub that aggregates all state social media streams into a singular location.

Designers decided which features would appear most prominently on the site based on analytical data that the team had captured on the previous iteration of Texas.gov.

The new site took about six months to build. It was open source coded on WordPress and is managed through WordPress’ back-end content management system.

While not developed through a mobile-first approach, the site does feature a responsive design that aligns to whatever device a user accesses the site on.

According to NIC, more than 30 percent of the website’s viewers come from a mobile device, which also inspired the developers to load less imagery and map and social media data on the mobile platform.

But according to Whitt, the biggest accomplishment of the new design is taking advantage of all of the new capability that a single-page design brings.

“We have diluted a lot of information and content down into a way that we have made it a one-page portal,” Whitt said. “If you look back on where we were 5, 6 years ago, we’re going from 300 pages to 1.”

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Erika Whitt, Innovation, Mobility, new website, NIC, State & Local News, States, Tech News, Texas, Texas.gov
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