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As citizen engagement and community partnerships grow and evolve, the “Show Me City” continually strives to be a leader in municipal transparency and engagement. Across all citizen communications platforms, Missouri City is dedicated to sharing the most relevant, the most up-to-date and, in cases of emergency, the most life-saving information with our engaged citizenry.
As digital media continues to offer residents new and exciting ways to become involved with local government and their community, staff is constantly re-evaluating current citizen communications tools and is looking for ways to utilize innovative and on-trend media platforms. One example is the recent upgrade of the City’s main web presence, www.missouricitytx.gov.
In November, Missouri City reached a milestone in citizen education and engagement with the relaunch of a revitalized City website. The redesign features streamlined pages, social media connections, branding for the City’s new Mission, Vision, Credo, and Code of Ideals; customized department homepages; a portal for a livestream of the MCTV channel and the ability to translate content into multiple languages that represent the City’s cultural diversity.
“The journey that dedicated Missouri City staff members took to complete this redesign and relaunch was challenging, and I am proud of the Communications team who dedicated months of exhaustive and meticulous research, design and development to produce this comprehensive new website,” City Manager Anthony J. Snipes said. “City Council has made it clear that transparency and strengthening the City’s brand and image were two of their main goals when I began my career as the City’s Chief Administrative Officer more than two years ago. I am proud that staff was able to collaborate with so many internal and external partners to create a website that addresses all of their specific, individual needs.”
The overhaul of the City’s main online presence was a collaboration of residents, City Council, stakeholders, employees from all departments, the University of Houston Master of Public Administration program, who polled local businesses for the initiative, Creative Consumer Research, a market research firm that conducted an independent internal/external project survey and public input symposium, and CivicPlus, a nationally renowned company that provides integrated technology platforms and solutions for local, state and federal government agencies.
According to CivicPlus officials, the company “is built on designing innovative solutions for local governments. We continually invest in our products to strengthen and transform the way local governments work and communicate with their citizens and we are proud to partner with Missouri City to help it accomplish its citizen engagement goals.” Referring to their effective partnership with the City’s Communications Department, who managed the website redesign, CivicPlus officials also said, “we want to congratulate [the City] on the launch of [its] new website! Your hard work has paid off, and the Missouri City website is something of which your community should be very proud.”
The site has improved functionality and improved navigation, with pages populated by features based on the requests of citizens, commercial partners, stakeholders and staff. As part of the relaunch, each City Council member has their own page with their biography, contact information and a geographic representation map, again ensuring the City continues its commitment to transparency.
In alignment with business plans and strategic goals, some departments now have a personalized homepage giving staff the ability to customize their information based on their operations and the needs of citizens. Five departments also received a unique URL so that citizens may directly access their web pages; they are as follows:
In line with the website redesign, the City debuted its new citywide mobile application, “MCTX Mobile”, for smart phone, tablet and phablet devices. Residents may download this new app by searching for ‘MCTX mobile’ in the Apple app store or on Google Play.
“We encourage citizens to download the app to receive website RSS feeds for upcoming events, emergency alerts, special projects and more,” Mr. Snipes said.
The new MCTX Mobile app was finalized in partnership with Swagit Productions, LLC, whose contract was approved by City Council in May 2016 to be the City’s provider of HD broadcast and streaming equipment and services solution for City public meetings. The partnership included an option for a mobile app (HD Peg Portal) that fully integrates with the City’s website and social media platforms and provides an outlet to give residents a consistent location to see media broadcasting around the clock as well as providing staff the ability to send push notifications, especially in case of special announcements and emergencies.
“This collaboration with Missouri City to implement their Mobile App changes the way the City does their future business. Instead of residents having to come to a specific website to gather public information, Missouri City’s staff will be able to push electronic print, as well as timely video content, directly to its citizens,” said David Alex Owusu, Swagit’s Vice-President and Co-Founder. “The requirement would only be a 3G, 4G or 5G connection via a mobile device, and communication regarding local community events changes overnight. The current administration clearly believes in maximizing transparency."
For updates, please watch the City website: www.missouricitytx.gov, like us on Facebook—fb/MissouriCityTX, follow us on Twitter, Instagramand Snapchat—@MissouriCityTX, and watch Missouri City Television (Ch. 16 on Comcast and Ch. 99 on AT&T U-verse).