Going Mobile

In a FCW recent article, Nolan Jones, Director of eGovernment Innovation, NIC, discusses why the federal government must plan now for going mobile and states, “mobile implementation is unquestionably difficult. Yet, it also is essential.” Of course there are many reasons the federal government hasn’t fully jumped on the mobile train, despite the benefits of improved customer service, increased citizen engagement and easier access to information for citizens. Security concerns, lack of resources, and budget cuts have all led to the federal government being perceived by constituents as behind the times. As Jones noted, “the longer federal agencies postpone going mobile, the greater their risk that constituents will perceive them as trailing in providing basic services.”

With that in mind, there are many examples at all levels of government to follow and many of these are eGovernment solutions. Below I’ve highlighted a few examples of state governments going mobile with their eGovernment services to provide better services to citizens:

  • FBI “Most Wanted:” This app features information about the FBI’s Top 10 Most Wanted, Terrorists, and Missing Children in real-time. Each list includes background information, picture, and the availability for users to provide tips. Currently, there are over 740,000 users in 78 countries.
  • Ok.Gov: Residents can access Oklahoma government directly from their phone app and get real-time news, agency location mapping, and professional licensee lookups. Ok.Gov offers agencies various payment services that collect payments online and can be integrated into an existing third-party app, built into a custom app, or through a stand-alone system. Also, the OK.gov website was developed using responsive design, so people can access all the website’s information from a variety of devices.
  • Arkansas Mobile: Arkansas was the first state to offer secure mobile payments for eGovernment services. For example, folks in 45+ counties can pay partial or total payments on their personal property and real estate taxes online and on any device. In addition, they have really good apps for their state parks, voter registration, and applying for higher education financial aid.
  • Montana Tax Express: Montana Department of Revenue developed an app that allows residents to pay their income taxes on any device. The mobile site uses responsive design to optimize to whatever device you are on and you can also download the mobile app.

These are just a few examples of sates going mobile to make government processes like filing taxes and license applications easier and more intuitive. Nowadays, people are used to going online to do almost everything. The idea of waiting in line, for anything, seems crazy if you could do it from your own home. However, it is important to remember that people are accessing these websites not only from their desktop computer, but from their smartphone or tablet. And they are most likely on the go. The above examples prove that “if you build it, they will come.” If your agency provides a mobile option, people will use it and continue to come back to your site. If agencies don’t provide mobile, they run the risk of losing their audience or at least, the positive attitudes of their audience.

As Jones shared, going mobile isn’t necessarily easy and thinking “mobile-first” may be tricky at first, but the decision is not really optional anymore.

What are other good examples of mobile sites or apps that allow you to file applications or make payments?

NIC is the nation’s leading provider of eGovernment online services. We build, manage, and market official government online services on behalf of 3,500 federal, state, and local agencies in the United States. Our solutions use technology to simplify time-consuming processes, increase efficiencies and reduce costs for both governments and the citizens and businesses they serve. www.nicfederal.com. Be sure to visit them right here on GovLoop in the “EGOV Innovation Station” Group.

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