SOURCE: Vision Internet

Vision Internet

September 24, 2013 08:33 ET

Vision Internet Shares Best Practices for Building Trust & Transparency With Government Website Professionals This Week

Websites Play Critical Role in Educating & Empowering Citizens

LOUISVILLE, KY--(Marketwired - Sep 24, 2013) - Vision Internet, innovators in online government, will share best practices and what's next in government websites that build citizen trust at the National Association of Government Web Professionals (NAGW) annual conference in Louisville, Ky. this week.

The workshop, led by Ashley Fruechting, Vision Internet's director of strategic initiatives, will draw participants from throughout the country gathered in Louisville September 24 - 27 to share knowledge, ideas and resources with fellow webmasters.

"Studies show that government transparency is associated with residents' feelings of efficacy and empowerment," said Fruechting. "Citizens who think their government shares information well are more likely to say that people like them can have an impact on government. If properly developed, government websites can play a critical role in transparency. A website is an opportunity to provide raw information like budget numbers and meeting dates, but also to provide the public with background information on what the numbers mean for the services they receive and how they can participate in the local decision-making process."

Among the well-known methodologies and surveys on assessing transparency, Fruechting identified the Sunshine Review as the most frequently cited in the United States. This national non-profit organization, which recently merged with the Lucy Burns Institute, is dedicated to state and local government transparency, and established criteria that encourages government agencies to create a single "Open Government" website or section where citizens can easily access information including budgets, meeting minutes, audit results and tax information.

Widely accepted transparency guidelines also require that social networking sites like Facebook maintain "open" or "public" privacy settings. Local governments that stream public meetings on the Internet, allow citizens to participate via asynchronous remote connections and post all agenda materials online at least 24 hours in advance of meetings tend to earn high marks from the Sunshine Review.

Fruechting said there is no one-size-fits-all model for how information is presented on public agency websites. Officials should be guided by what information residents are asking for in emails and calls, what is being sought in requests for public records, and what Web analytics say about the community's interests in visiting an agency's website.

"Forward-thinking cities and counties across North America are embracing new, tech-savvy ways to proactively share public information that empowers citizens and keeps government accountable to the people," Fruechting said. "At Vision Internet we take the latest private sector technology available and bring it to local government in a way that makes sense for public agencies."

A key to Vision Internet's innovative website functionality is its government content management system, visionCMS™, which allows non-technical staff to add, edit and delete website content while providing the management tools necessary to maintain control, consistency and quality. Introduced earlier this year, visionCMS receives high marks from local government webmasters who are using it to expedite and streamline citizen access to civic information, increasing transparency and saving taxpayer dollars.

Fruechting cited several examples of cities and counties that have actively engaged their citizens in the website development process, and established policies to keep their sites updated and open to public review long after they are launched.

NAGW is geared specifically to the interests and concerns of local government website professionals. Its primary mission is to serve members through the coordination of national conferences in which members can network and share professional resources and information to provide value across the Web to communities. For more information about NAGW visit http://www.nagw.org/. For more information about Vision Internet's transformative government website technology, please call 888-263-8847 or visit http://www.visioninternet.com/index.aspx

About Vision Internet
Headquartered in Santa Monica, Calif., Vision Internet is the leader in developing innovations for government websites with more than 500 government, non-profit and education clients in U.S. and Canadian communities with populations that range from less than 1,000 residents to more than 5 million. The company creates cost-effective solutions that increase government efficiency, transparency and interactive communications with citizens. Over the past 17 years, the company has earned hundreds of prestigious awards for its unique websites. In 2013, Vision Internet launched visionCMS™, a powerful, easy to use content management system developed with feedback from hundreds of municipal clients. For more information visit www.visioninternet.com.

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