Since the invention of the internet, web tools have been evolving to meet the demands of users. Interactivity, content, design, social media, video, apps, blogs, and influencers are all commonplace elements used today to deliver digital media on the web.
Recently, twelve NIC state enterprises and their state partners were recognized as top industry leaders in web creativity and digital communication by the 2021 dotComm Awards. Chosen from over 2,500 entries across the globe to receive this honor, these states’ work exceeds a high standard of excellence and serves as a benchmark for government.
Platinum Award Recipients
NIC Mississippi and NIC Virginia received the awards program’s top honor – each taking home a platinum award in the government website category.
Mississippi’s website, ms.gov, features a chatbot named MISSI that streamlines delivery of services to citizens, provides more thorough human assistance on tough-to-answer questions, and explores the positive impact machine learning and AI automation has made on citizen-government interactions. Answering about 6,000 citizen services questions per month, MISSI has eased the workload on call-center personnel and decreased call volume to agents by 50%.
In addition to receiving distinction for government website, NIC Virginia also received platinum awards for website creativity, navigation design, and health and wellness website for easyaccess.virginia.gov. Offering a wide range of health care, financial, social, housing, transportation, food, and educational services, the Virginia Easy Access website connects older adults, adults with disabilities, veterans, and families with public programs in a way that is accessible and easy to navigate.
Gold Award Recipients
NIC Arkansas, NIC Louisiana, NIC Mississippi, NIC Nebraska, NIC Wisconsin, and NIC Vermont received gold awards in the government website category.
Recognizing that citizens come to government websites primarily for help and assistance and not to browse a list of services, Arkansas enhanced its website in 2021 to be even more useful to the public and further extend government’s capacity to provide quality customer service. Arkansas.gov now features an upgraded chatbot that uses natural language processing along with human-aided learning to guide the user to the best resources, seamlessly blending knowledge bases, site search, workflows, data integrations and live chat into one experience.
Louisiana received two gold awards for government website, one for the Louisiana Center for Safe Schools website and one for the Get A Game Plan – Louisiana Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP) website.
The Louisiana Center for Safe Schools website is a virtual resource library that provides school communities and their school safety partners with quality information and resources. By identifying and promoting strategies, practices, and programs that support safe schools and emergency preparedness, lasafeschools.la.gov helps schools provide safe and secure learning environments as part of the total academic mission.
Likewise, the Get A Game Plan website aims to prepare Louisianans with important emergency planning information and tools to keep them safe. Residents can visit getagameplan.org or download the mobile app to learn how to make an emergency preparedness plan, build a kit, locate disaster recovery assistance, and more.
In addition to the platinum award for ms.gov, Mississippi also received a gold award for the Mississippi Department of Public Safety website. In response to the rapid switch to digital government services brought on by COVID-10 office closures, the Department of Public Safety implemented the “Skip the Line Program” that features the TeleGov online appointment system that reduces customer wait times and prevents over-crowding in DPS offices, live camera feeds of offices for a real time view of foot traffic, online address changes for licenses and ID cards, and online firearm permit renewal applications. Since launch, more than 185,000 appointments across 35 locations and 16 unique appointment types have been scheduled.
Nebraska was honored with a gold award for the Nebraska Department of Veteran’s Affairs website. Featuring a host of tools and services, veterans.nebraska.gov allows veterans to access benefits, employment tools, locate events, view resources, and more. Visitors to the site can even chat live with accredited state veteran services officer.
The Vermont Department of Liquor and Lottery’s Education Storefront (dllseminars.vermont.gov) provides a centralized, online digital government service for citizens and businesses to purchase educational courses and associated products that are required or optional for compliance training. The Education Storefront provides a familiar online catalog experience for end-users to browse, add, and purchase official products and services within a single, secure Vermont state government website. The Education Storefront is integrated with the Bridge learning management platform and provides learners a seamless experience to purchase and access online courses from a single, online location. In addition, the new Education Storefront digital government service allows Vermont Division of Liquor and Lottery administrative personnel enhanced abilities to manage course and product offerings in the online catalog, manager user accounts, and view detailed usage reports to gather valuable insights for delivering educational services and facilitating regulatory compliance for Vermont citizens and businesses.
NIC Vermont also received a gold award for government mobile app for Vermont Outdoors. The official outdoor recreation app from the Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife, Vermont Outdoors, provides a wide variety of tools and information for hunting, trapping, fishing, and other outdoor activities. Users can browse interactive maps to find points of interest, search for information on regulations and policy, submit reports to Vermont state agencies, and more.
Developed in partnership with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, the Wisconsin Go Wild website provides hunters, anglers, and outdoor enthusiasts an easy-to-use online option to obtain fishing, hunting, and trapping licenses, register for safety education courses, and manage their boats, ATVs and other off-road vehicles through an efficient online experience. Visitors to gowild.wi.gov can also create an account and logon to access their customer dashboard and catalog at any time. In 2020 alone, Go Wild processed more than 1.8 million online transactions.