How housing authorities increase accessibility with mobile-friendly websites
Government guidelines dictate content requirements for federal agencies, and fast-moving technology adds to the pressure of updating websites.
Is your nonprofit’s site genuinely accessible to low-income residents and website visitors? According to a bill passed into law, the Connected Government Act:
“An estimated 40 percent of all government websites are not accessible or are difficult to access on a mobile device.”
Not good news considering visits to government websites garner millions of monthly views, and more than 40 percent of these visits are from mobile phones.
An updated website keeps your housing authority relevant and increases your reach. Moreover, mobile-friendly sites help improve your reputation and demonstrate a willingness to change with the times.
A mobile-friendly website supports the mission of your housing authority.
Your website offers the first impression of your housing authority. Ivory Matthews, Executive Director of the Greenville Housing Authority in South Carolina, explains that their housing authority website:
“Is vital to the agency’s ability to communicate to our residents, our commissioners, and the public at large… Our website is designed to provide business transparency for our families, commissioners, business partners, community stakeholders, and the general public.”
Designing with mobile needs in mind helps your nonprofit communicate its purpose and achieve outreach goals.
Mobile-optimized sites are necessary.
If cell phone users can’t read text on your site or pages won’t load, then your public housing information isn’t fully accessible. Furthermore, a Pew Research study discovered that:
“7% of people are part of the smart-phone dependent population.”
“These best practices include configuring websites so that people can easily read them from a mobile device and making buttons big enough to be easily tapped with a finger.”
Creating a site that cell phone and tablet users can conveniently access keeps your housing authority in touch with the needs of your market.
A responsive design increases search engine ranking.
Not everyone knows your agency’s location or what county you serve. As a result, potential clients type the terms public housing or affordable housing into a search engine. Others use voice search.
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Does your housing authority’s link appear on the first couple search pages? If not, then the chances are that you’re missing your targeted audience.
Google rewards mobile-optimized sites by ranking them higher in search engine results. Therefore, a smartphone-friendly site means more people find your services. However, CNET points out that companies:
“better make sure it loads fast, because otherwise Google will punish you in its search results.”
Use Google’s free tool to see if your website works on a cell phone. After clicking the link, the tool analyzes your site, provides the answer, lists page errors, and offers recommendations. Follow the tips to improve site traffic and user accessibility.
The Connected Government Act requires agencies to address accessibility issues. While the exact timeline of enforcement is unknown, the law states that organizations must:
”implement the mobile-friendly requirement for all public-facing websites updated or created after enactment.”
The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Robin Kelly (D-IL) said, “We have a responsibility to keep pace with technological innovation and make it easy for citizens to engage with their government.”
If your housing authority’s website falls short of these requirements, then it’s time to update.