North American municipalities face unique challenges. It is no secret today that many citizens feel disconnected from the people running their towns and cities. This is a common feeling all over North America.

As a government body, you’ve got a challenge ahead of you. How to reconnect in an effective and efficient ways to share information with your residents, provide them with relevant and timely updates, collect feedback and input from them, drive citizen engagement and re-establish a positive sense of community. One way to do this is with a mobile app for your municipality.

Ideal Features for Municipal Mobile Apps

To enhance resident engagement and optimize municipal operations, include the following four features when mapping out your mobile app:

  • Push Notifications: This feature enables your municipal staff to send notifications to residents, keeping them informed about events, closures, news, and other important updates. Push notifications can be sent on the go, ensuring timely communication and increasing resident engagement.
  • Forms: You can create a wide range of in-app forms using this feature. From problem reporting to applications, Forms allow you and your staff to transform physical forms into digital, instantaneous ones, streamlining processes and enhancing efficiency.
  • Webpage Links: This versatile feature allows municipalities to integrate existing responsive webpages into the app seamlessly. This means you can bring your online services, such as utility bill payments or permit applications, directly into the app, providing residents with a convenient and centralized platform for accessing services.
  • Locations of Interest: Sharing locations of interest is a great way for municipalities to connect residents with their community. Whether it’s parks, recreational centers, municipal buildings, or local landmarks, this would allow municipalities to provide residents with easy access to information about the places that matter to them.

Avoiding Shiny Object Syndrome

While exploring mobile app features, do not fall into the trap of “shiny object syndrome.” If you’re like many people these days, you probably engage with dozens of mobile apps each day. When you’re suddenly tasked with managing the development of your own, it can be easy to want to include all of the features you see and like from other mobile apps.

But, it’s important to focus on features that directly contribute to resident engagement and streamline municipal processes. Avoid adding unnecessary features that may distract from the core objectives of the app or complicate the user experience. This will ensure that your app is helpful and adds true value to your residents’ lives. If the app is helpful, they’ll be much more inclined to continue using it.

I’m a Citizen Who Wants a Mobile App for My Town, What Should I Do?

If you’re a resident or a staff member at a municipality that wants to encourage their municipality to consider a mobile app, the best approach is to highlight the ease and convenience it brings to everyday interactions. Whether it’s reporting issues through a 311 form, renewing a dog license, or any other point of interaction, emphasizing the simplicity and accessibility of performing tasks on the go can be a compelling argument for municipal decision-makers.

What If We Have Specific Requirements For Our Mobile App?

Every municipality is unique in their approach to engaging with residents, in what the municipality has to offer to citizens, and in how its citizens like to receive information and communicate with their municipality.

Once you’ve included the foundational features like push notifications, forms, webpage links, and locations of interest, the rest is really up to you. But don’t skip over the foundational elements in favour of your own requirements. Best yet, talk with your mobile app developer to see what they would recommend. They have seen many more municipal apps than you have (we bet), and would be in a good position to recommend the most effective path forward.

If you’re interested in learning more about the Info Grove platform and how it includes the above features and more to help municipalities enhance resident engagement, streamline processes, and foster stronger connections with their communities, book a demo today.

Karim Mansour is an Inside Sales Representative at 14 Oranges, the creators of the Info Grove platform.

How to Elevate Your Citizen Engagement: Discover the Potential of a Municipal Mobile App