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Why Some Agencies Need to Be More Smartphone-Friendly

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Some 40 percent of smartphone-toting Americans have used their devices to look up government and services, according to a recent Pew Research Center survey.

All told, more than 60 percent of Americans own a smartphone and nearly a quarter of them now access the Internet primarily through those devices, in part, because they lack other ways of getting online, according to the survey.

The takeaway for government? When planning your website redesign, don’t make mobile an afterthought.

“This research shows that a significant and growing portion of our constituencies need to be able to access our digital content and properties by mobile devices because they have no other easily accessible options,” the General Services Administration’s DigitalGov team in a April 7 blog post.

The Obama administration’s lofty 2012 digital government strategy called on agencies to provide federal services “anytime, anywhere and on any device.” Although, agencies clearly have their work cut out for them.

Among the most visited federal websites -- IRS.gov, Weather.gov, the USAJobs career-search site and the National Park Service’s website -- few are truly mobile-friendly, a fact pointed out by GovFresh’s Luke Fretwell here on Nextgov.

Some agencies should move beyond thinking mobile-friendly and move toward mobile-first.  

“If your agency primarily serves underprivileged, low-income or minority communities, these rates are even higher, and it is exponentially more crucial to your mission to prepare your digital content to be mobile-optimized as soon as possible, if not first, before the desktop experience,” the DigitalGov blog post stated.

(Image via baranq/ Shutterstock.com)

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