State website breaks new ground with mobile apps

Arkansas follows its users with new emphasis on mobile computing

Mobile users in Arkansas can now text the state government — and get a reply.

The new version of Arkansas.gov includes two features state officials say are the first for government: Text4help, which lets people ask questions about government services, and a geolocation widget for finding e-government services, writes Sarah Rich in Government Technology.

The new features, unveiled along with a redesign of the state’s website, are part of the state’s emphasis on mobile services, according to a release on the website.

Text4help lets users ask about services anywhere in the state — including county and other local services — and get responses from the state’s customer service staff. The geolocation widget, a free download, lets local and community websites embed code for state, county and city online services within their own websites.

Other mobile features include Smart Search, which puts results in one display area; Geolocation Services Near Me, which displays jobs, services, government offices and maps based on the user’s location; and Mobile Optimized Payment Solution, which expands what the state says is the first secure mobile payment solution.

In fact, the popularity of the mobile payment option — mobile transactions have been increasing by 15 percent a month — led the state to concentrate on mobile applications during the website redesign, Claire Bailey, the state’s chief technology officer, said in the release.

Janet Grard, Arkansas.gov’s portal manager, said the state is just going where the users are. “New technologies allow us to push government services to places where Arkansans are most often engaged, such as a community or city website, Facebook and Twitter, or on a mobile device,” she daid.

 

About the Author

Kevin McCaney is editor of Defense Systems. Follow him on Twitter: @KevinMcCaney.

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