Forging History for Virginia's Largest Locality
A website should always deliver a high degree of functionality, with responsive design that respects and rewards the user. The website for Fairfax County, Virginia, strives to deliver much more. Home to 1.14 million residents, Fairfax is the largest locality in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Besides being a web presence representing this beautiful section of Northern Virginia, the website has a requirement of corralling and effectively connecting each of over fifty departments within the county.
For this deep undertaking, a partnership was kindled between The Fairfax County Department of Information Technology, The Fairfax Office of Public Affairs, and Virginia Interactive. Founded in 1742, Fairfax County has plenty of history to boast of, but in this case, all eyes were on the future.
A fully-redesigned website that boasts a new and modern design was born, delivering a clear message with a high level of functionality. Its real-world appeal benefits form a clear emphasis on a responsive design that looks great on any device.
Undertaken in summer of 2016, the project began with a rigorous dive into the core of the user interface. A majority of departments, agencies, and stakeholders within Fairfax County were consulted during the requirements gathering phase. A design team then undertook an heuristic evaluation to glean a better understanding of needs faced by those interfacing with the website, and how to provide the optimal user experience.
Transparency and access to information were key drivers of the project, which involves a wholly rethought structure, with a focus on new topic-level pages to highlight the most resident-focused information. The new site structure was tested and validated by a sample group of users. In addition, a new search strategy is being utilized to improve content discovery, and satisfaction surveys are newly featured on every page to provide near real-time feedback by users.
“Our partnership with Fairfax County has resulted in a cutting-edge, easy to use site that will make citizen’s interactions with the government simpler and more convenient. We’re proud that we’re able to assist in making such a significant impact in Virginia’s largest locality,” says Travis Sarkees, VI General Manager.
The new Fairfax County site utilizes Drupal 8 for its content management system (CMS). Selecting this state of the art platform provides a scalable solution without the need for major upgrades. In preparation for the launch of the site, VI assisted in the training of over 200 Fairfax county staff on the new CMS, ensuring a seamless transition to the new platform. Rather than relying on traditional HTML-style coding to populate the site with content, authors utilize forms that are customized to Fairfax’s specific content needs. Enhanced functionality includes a multisite architecture, sharing and reuse of content, custom templates and content types, and Google Maps integration.
The newly imagined Fairfax County Website demonstrates how cooperation, technology, and design can bring the strengths of modern web applications to bear upon the needs of a wide array of users. This strong investment in the highest standard of website design will surely deliver for years to come.
- Hermes Creative Awards
- Fairfax County Website Redesign - Government - Gold Award
- American Business (Stevie) Awards
- Fairfax County Website - Business/Government - Bronze Award
- Communicator Awards
- Fairfax County Website - General: Government Websites - Distinction
- Fairfax County Website Redesign - General: Government Websites - Distinction
- NACo (National Association of Counties) Awards
- Fairfax County "Taking a Citizen First Approach to Website Redesign" - Civic Education & Public Information
- DotComm Awards
- Fairfax County Website - Website | Government - Honorable Mention
- Fairfax County Website - Website | Redesign - Honorable Mention
- Marcom Awards
- Fairfax County Website - Digital Media | Website | Government- - Honorable Mention