The basis for a majority of city websites is to disburse information to citizens in a timely matter. Though information distribution is the foundation behind implementing a city website, the design can in some cases, have as much impact as the information itself.
In Robert Brunner’s book Do You Matter? How Great Design Will Make People Love Your Company, he explains that great design establishes the strong, positive relationship between your company and your customers; or in a city’s case, the city and its citizens. Design is more than how a website looks; it’s how it feels and how the website communicates to the visitor. Creating an entire experience on a website is part of a complete design strategy. City governments must ask themselves if they are a positive force in their citizens’ lives or are they just running through the motions. They are not just running the city business; they are helping to create an experience for citizens and tourists. They must carry out this positive experience through design.
The design must be cohesive; it must brand your city. Branding is saturating all aspects of a city’s materials both online and off – it is what sets a city apart from all others.
In Do You Matter? How Great Design Will Make People Love Your Company, Brunner uses Starbucks’ brand strategy as an example. The company is not selling coffee; it’s selling an experience. From lighting to seating, to their logo and their website, they’ve branded themselves definitively and created an entire lifestyle –the coffee is secondary.
The same can be said for cities who “sell” a lifestyle. Are the citizens proud to be a part of the community? How is the city marketing itself online? What does the city want to be known for? All are important questions when implementing a design strategy. A city’s image should permeate every page, every social network, every email, and every message. Not only can it impact how citizens feel about the city, it can impact how visitors decide on a possible vacation spot and how transfer families determine a place to live.
Robert Brunner’s Do You Matter? How Great Design Will Make People Love Your Company is a clear indication that great design is the foundation for a successful business (or city.) To read more about the book visit www.doyoumatter.com.
To learn more about beginning your city’s design strategy, click here.