Why Congress is Demanding User-Friendly Websites - Municibid Blog

Why Congress is Demanding User-Friendly Websites

In December of 2017, Congress passed the Connected Government Act (H.R. 2331) which requires all federal agencies that create or update a website intended for use by the public to ensure that the website is mobile friendly. A mobile-friendly website is defined as a web page easily navigated on a smartphone, tablet, or similar mobile device.

You may have heard of the word “responsive” in relation to how a website is designed. A responsive website is when the design of the website automatically adjusts (responds) to the device and screen size the website is pulled up on. So instead of just showing the desktop version of the website that you need to pinch to zoom in, or twist your phone all around to use, the website adjusts and looks like it was designed for your device/screen size.

Back in 2014, we overhauled municibid.com and re-launched the new website using a fully responsive design. Doing so enabled us to offer our sellers and buyers a website experience that works perfectly across any desktop, tablet or mobile device.

Here are the reasons that motivated us to make a change, and why we think believe the Connected Government Act is a step in the right direction.

Investing in our customers…

At the time (2014) 38% of our web traffic came from mobile devices. With the popularity of smartphones, coupled with faster and more readily available WiFi, it was obvious to us this number of 38% would only increase.

Today, over 60% of our web traffic comes from mobile and tablet devices. Redesigning and relaunching a website is no easy task. It takes months of preparation, building, testing, and comes with several inherent risks that may cause interruptions to customers. It can also be costly. In spite of the time, risks, and costs, we knew the importance of thinking ahead and our ongoing commitment to continue investing in our customers.

Since then, no matter how a seller or buyer chooses to use Municibid, we are always ready to accommodate them.

Offering customers a faster, safer, and more reliable website…

We often hear our customers tell us how “friendly” and “easy-to-use” Municibid is. Of course, we love hearing this, but good design and usability are just a few of the components that make for a pleasant website experience. When re-launching with a responsive design, it gave our team the opportunity to rethink speed, security, redundancy, and the overall health of the website. An online auction platform is a 24/7/365 operation, and we took the opportunity to upgrade what’s under the hood to create a machine that fires always on all cylinders. We also continuously roll out upgraded server and network technology to stay ahead of the curve to accommodate our consistent growth. So why not an app for Municibid?

Over the years we have regularly discussed developing an iOS and Android app for Municibid. After much consideration and many discussions with both selling agencies and bidders, we determined it was not necessary for a variety of reasons. The primary reason is that our customers simply didn’t care about an app as long as the website looked good and worked well on their mobile devices. Secondly, an app adds a level of unneeded complexity to what really should be a simple, straightforward experience. Third; at one point, having an app was required in order to have certain features, this is no longer the case. These features can be implemented using other technology.

Municibid’s responsive website means our users don’t have to worry about downloading software or yet another app. Municibid runs on any web browser, not your device, so there’s concern if the app is updated or not. This allows our engineers to consistently roll out new features behind the scenes which are automatically updated so customers are ready to go each time they visit and use the website. In the end, it is all about offering customers a faster, safer, and more reliable website.

When you are comparing online auction providers for your government agency or school, we encourage you to compare each provider’s website on your mobile device. You won’t want to lose a potential bidder and lost revenue because of a poor mobile experience where the user has to pinch and twist their phones all around in order to use the website.

We’ve spent much of 2018 listening to seller and buyer feedback in an effort to refresh our website design, improve the user experience, and create a site that is faster than ever. The new website just went live at municibid.com and we’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section.

 

Greg Berry
Founder & CEO | Municibid
800.531.6074

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