great government web design

Government websites are not known for their beauty, style, or elegance.  But demonstrates that government websites do not have to look dull, boring, and ugly.  On the contrary, the Alabama website is quite the opposite – just like it’s tagline: Be Bold.

Government websites have strict standards that most commercial websites are not constrained by, including Section 508 compliance, web content accessibility guidelines (WCAG), backward compatibility with older web browsers, accessible Javascript, and slow Internet connections. In addition, government contracting and procurement often requires vendors to cut costs to ensure lowest price to the government and these cuts often come at the expense of visually pleasing and aesthetic design.  But defies convention while staying compliant.

User Centered Design (UCD)

Probably, one of the reasons why looks and works as good as it does is because it is actually a recruiting and marketing website.  Clearly, there are two primary audience segments: 1) those thinking about moving to Alabama and 2) those already in Alabama.  The State of Alabama is using its website to inspire and compel people who might consider relocating their business or their residence to Alabama. It also seeks to attract visitors and tourism and it does so in a very clever way.

For those already living in Alabama, there are calls to action to:

  • Renew Your Fishing License
  • Renew Your Hunting License
  • Renew Your Vessel (Boating) License

So, here is the clever thing.  If somebody were considering a move to Alabama, these calls to action for Fishing, Hunting, and Boating licenses are compelling.  Of all the self-service items they could put above the fold on the home page of, they chose to put these three great things.

Sliders are Old School

Rather than put one of those old school sliders on the home page, put dynamic, moving, video opaquely masked by a blue filter that allows them to do a lot of things in a very simple and elegant way.  This video makes the site a live.  It is no longer static.  It’s alive.  But, the blue filter on top ensures that the video is not distracting but instead moving in the background.  This also allows them to write their message and tagline: Be Bold!  Go explore Alabama, it’s waiting for You!  Hats off to the folks behind  They did a great job.

If you are looking to spiff up your government agency website, give us a call – we are on the GSA Schedule 70.

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