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What do finding a job, renewing your driver license and registering to vote have in common? They are all now just a few clicks away on the newly redesigned website utah.gov.
The site for all things Utah government got a major overhaul last month. Photos of state parks and downtown Salt Lake City now slide across the screen, a search bar appears front and center on the page and location-targeted results automatically pop up. All the changes are aimed at helping residents more easily navigate city, county and state services in as little time as possible, say managers.
David Fletcher, chief technology officer for the Utah Department of Technology Services, oversaw the redesign and hopes it better serves the site's 1.5 million unique visitors each month.
"We have digital citizens that use the Web," he said, "so we're trying to be the best digital state we can be."
What looks and feels like a version of Google for Utah government was made by design, Fletcher said. The prominent search bar was placed in the middle of the page because it's used more than two times as much as any other feature.
It directs people to the services they need instead of having them scroll through a list of the 1,100 agencies, such as the Division of Motor Vehicles to renew vehicle registration or the Division of Wildlife Resources for a fishing license.
The site also is mobile responsive, which means the page adjusts to any device, including mobile phones (which make up 30 percent of the site's visitors), gaming consoles, tablets and flat-screen TVs. Fletcher said this, along with an increased social-media presence, helps the state stay relevant to its residents in the digital age.
The state partners with Utah Interactive, a website design and development company, to reboot utah.gov with minor updates each year.
Sara Watts, the group's general manager, said this year's overhaul has been in the works since August.
For her, one of the best features of the new design is the geolocation technology. This takes a user's IP address and places where that person's computer is on a map. The site will then show location-specific resources in the "my city" section.
"If you're living in Salt Lake City, it will show you jobs near you, parks and schools, services and local government meetings," she said. "The same thing would happen for West Jordan or St. George."
It also shows that area's state senators and representatives and local social-media handles, such as @CityofHolladay on Twitter. Watts recommends manually changing the city if you plan to travel or move within the state.
"Oftentimes when people come to a government website, they have no idea whether what they want to do is a state-government service or a city-government service or a county-government service," Watts said. "We're trying to break down those barriers by putting information that's pertinent to their location."
In addition to "my city," there are four other sections: government headlines, where you can view recent news; open government, where you can access more than 1,300 data sets of public information; citizen engagement, where you can find out how to participate in Utah elections; and digital innovation, where you can connect on social media and find new mobile apps.
Load times for the new design are in the top 25 percent nationwide, meaning it generally takes just microseconds for the site to fully load.
Fletcher said that's an accomplishment given how image-heavy utah.gov is.
But he believes it's a must for Utahns who are among the top Internet users in the nation, with the state ranked No. 1, according to U.S. Census data, for number of households with computers.