Mobile Access to Government Websites Outpaces Desktops for First Time

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Americans for the first time are accessing government websites and resources more often with mobile devices than with desktop computers, General Services Administration (GSA) Innovation Portfolio Director Jacob Parcel said at the GovLoop conference today.

Parcel said that just within the last month, mobile users composed over 50 percent of overall government web traffic, which is a record and significant jump from 20 percent in 2013. And for Federal websites, mobile users composed 48 percent of web traffic.

Government agencies, Parcel explained, must adapt to the fast-paced shift toward online mobile usage. Congress passed the Connected Government Act and 21st Century Integrated Digital Experience Act in recent months to require agencies to create user-friendly websites, digital services, and mobile experiences. However, Parcel stressed the importance of speed and simplicity in designing government platforms to achieve the goals of those policies.

“We have to be careful that citizens are able to engage with us on government websites,” Parcel said, adding that 89 percent of Americans report that government websites are the primary way they interact with agencies, and that government websites handle over 20 million users a day.

Since Americans have increasingly become accustomed to quick, secure, and easy online access on their phones, Parcel said that if agencies fail to adapt to citizens’ expectations, not only will user satisfaction ratings drop, but users probably will be unable to find information and resources they need from the government.

Looking forward with the future development of artificial intelligence, augmented reality, and other innovations, agencies also must expect to adapt quickly as new technologies continue to shape how citizens interact digitally with the government.

Federal practitioners who do technology work for the government have curated resources for agencies to reference as they continue to build their mobile and digital platforms at Digital.gov, Parcel said.

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