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Desktop, Tablet or Smartphone? New Granicus Study Reveals Access Frequency of Government Website Services Differs Significantly by Device

Report highlights need for government websites to adopt service-centric design

WASHINGTONNov. 8, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Granicus today released the results of new research revealing that while desktop computers are still the most popular devices for accessing online government services, mobile devices continue to gain share. The study found that 45 percent of U.S. citizens access online government services via smartphones or tablets, a number that has increased nearly 10 percent since 2016, and a trend that is expected to continue.

“As the number of internet-enabled consumer devices continues to grow and citizen preferences continue to change, understanding usage trends related to government websites is critical to developing effective digital content management strategies,” said Mark Hynes, Granicus CEO. “With nearly half of all government website visits coming from mobile devices, it’s particularly important to understand the expectations of mobile users and ensure website content and design are optimized to create compelling and positive experiences for community residents and visitors.”

Based on an analysis of activities performed on nearly 100 city and county websites across the U.S., the Granicus report outlines the similarities and differences between desktop, smartphone and tablet usage and what government agencies can do to optimize their websites to better serve and engage citizens. The results create a how-to guide for service-centric website design.

Key findings of Granicus’ new whitepaper, Optimizing Your Website to Serve and Engage Your Community, include:

  • Time-intensive activities are most common on desktops: Activities that require more time or involve uploading/downloading documents are typically completed on a desktop. For example, a more involved task like paying property taxes is nearly 60 percent more likely to be completed on a desktop than on a smartphone.
  • Quick activities are most common on mobile devices: On-the-go activities, like looking up contact information or executing a quick online transaction are most often performed on mobile devices. For example, Granicus’ analysis found that city website visitors seeking information about parks and recreation were more than twice as likely to do so from mobile devices than desktops.
  • Many online activities are predominantly performed on specific devices: Granicus found that website visitors have a strong device preference for several online activities. For example, certain city website tasks, like paying parking tickets and contacting animal services, were most often performed on smartphones, while applying for business licenses and finding bid opportunities or RFPs were almost exclusively performed on desktops, and senior services were most often accessed from tablets. On county websites, applying for marriage licenses and seeking emergency information were predominantly performed on smartphones, while applying for building permits was largely a desktop-only task, and looking up library information was most often performed on tablets.
  • Most common activities are different for cities and counties: The activities performed on city websites differ significantly from those performed on county sites – and not only because these agencies offer different types of services. For example, accessing GIS map information was one of the top three tasks on county websites, but didn’t even make the top 20 for cities, despite the fact that city websites often feature GIS information as well. Such differences suggest that visitors to city and county websites are seeking different types of information and services. Regardless of their differences, city and county websites visitors also had several top tasks in common, including accessing job applications, parks and recreation, payments and court information.

“Knowing the origin of traffic to your website is one of the first steps to building a user-friendly, service-centric government website,” Hynes said. “Agencies that leverage a combination of qualitative and quantitative usability research to build websites make it easy for citizens to interact and engage with government.”

For a complete analysis of the most popular tasks performed on local government websites by device, including real examples from Granicus clients and website optimization tips, download the city version and download the county version of the report.

About Granicus
Granicus provides technology and services that empower government organizations to create seamless digital experiences for the people they serve. By offering the industry’s leading cloud-based solutions for communications, content management, meeting and agenda management, and digital services to over 4,000 public sector organizations, Granicus helps turn government missions into quantifiable realities. Granicus products connect more than 185 million people, creating a powerful network to enhance citizen engagement. By optimizing decision-making processes, Granicus strives to help government see better outcomes and a greater impact for the citizens they serve. For more information, visit

Media Contact:
Lynette Viviani
(973) 534-1004