Since Arlington County updated its website two years ago, officials have seen significant increases in the number of mobile site visitors and e-mail subscribers, making it more critical than ever for the site to stay optimized for its on-the-go users.
According to the county’s Digital Communications Manager Jennifer Smith, 37 percent of site traffic is from mobile devices, up from 25 percent before the upgrade. Mobile phones account for 30 percent of site traffic, with the remaining 7 percent attributed to tablets.
“When we first redesigned the site our goal was to make it mobile-friendly,” Smith said. “Having mobile use increase from about a quarter to more than a third is huge, and the importance of being mobile-friendly is more critical than ever.”
With the upgrade came new features designed to be especially easy for mobile users, including the site’s calendar feature Arlington Today, more forms available online that can be completed on a mobile device, and organizing the site by topic rather than by department.
The County also rolled out a new e-mail subscription services feature over the summer with an easy sign-up option on the site’s homepage. Users can choose from a list of more than 100 topics they would like to be notified about, from police-related news to trash and recycling updates.
Smith said more than 65,000 people now subscribe to the service, and the average user is subscribed to 2.3 different topics.
She added this progress has inspired the County to do make more improvements to its digital offerings in the new year.
This includes plans to “do more in the mobile application space” in 2016. Though the County already has an app for reporting problems, there’s opportunity to expand it and make more services easily accessible on mobile devices.
“Our goal is to continually look for ways to improve the site and make it easier for those people coming to it,” Smith said. “I don’t think any organization in this day and age is moving away from mobile. It was a key part of revamping the site a couple years ago, so we’ll continue to look for ways to improve in that space.”