Like many cities, Grand Rapids had an outdated website. There were too many webpages and not enough consistency. Users found it difficult to navigate and staff had trouble keeping it updated.
For most services, customers had to print out a form and mail or fax it to the City. This didn't accommodate residents without printers or money for postage. This also contributed to long processing times.
The wording and language used on the old website were also inaccessible. Staff wrote and used big words, jargon and acronyms only they could understand.
Complex payment processes
There was a lot at stake for residents and businesses. 82% of the visits to the old website were payment related. The payment experience was difficult because there was no single place to pay for everything. Users had to wade through pages and blocks of text to try to find each correct payment portal they needed.
Customers had to remember user IDs and passwords for the 9 different payment portals. They also had to wait 3 - 5 business days until their payment posted to their City account. This means they had to remember and plan for that amount before it was actually taken out or charged. On top of that, most online payments charged processing fees.