Our website story

We're proud to introduce the new City of Minneapolis public website. We built the site with and for our communities.

Focus on people's needs

To turn our vision into reality, the City's cross-departmental Digital Services team:

  • Worked diligently with City departments to transform their content
  • Asked people who use the current website every day for their input

Based on this feedback, we designed and organized the site to:

  • Help people find the critical and day-to-day information they seek
  • Meet the needs of residents, business owners and visitors

Just the beginning

Our initial launch includes a small subset of the City's content in the new website look and feel. We wanted to share a sample of our vision with you while we continue to work on updating the site. We look forward to rolling out more content on the new site in the coming months.

Reach for ambitious goals

When you browse the new site, you'll soon see that we've done much more than a facelift.

The team wanted to:

  • Improve the look and feel.
    The site has more visuals, a cleaner design and content that looks great on mobile devices.
  • Reorganize the content by topic area. 
    Now people can find the information they need with greater ease.
  • Rewrite the copy.
    Our users can scan and understand the content and quickly access City services.
  • Improve accessibility. 
    The site is inclusive, and we have removed barriers to using it.
  • Improve search.
    We've included more pull-down options for easier access to content.
  • Put a robust web publishing system in place. 
    This helps us improve the user experience and meet our goals.
Screenshot of Getting Around webpage

Start with content strategy

We developed our content strategy early on:

We want to help all website visitors access the information and services they need to live, work and play in Minneapolis. We do this by creating clear, consistent content.

Follow content principles

After we developed our strategy, we created our principles:

  • Be consistent
  • Be concise, simple and clear
  • Write for the web
  • Communicate with empathy and purpose
  • Build for accessibility and inclusion
  • Be human-centered and data-driven
  • Have one place for each piece of content
  • Tell our story

These principles:

  • Guide us as we write, edit and retire content
  • Serve as an experienced team member, providing guidance for all our content work

View our content creation guidelines

Design for a great city

2019-Mpls-Trans-Equity-Summit-by-Anna-Min-of-Min-Enterprises-Photography-LLC-103

The new website represents the city we aspire to be:

  • Actively engaged 
  • Vibrant 
  • Inclusive 
  • Welcoming 
  • Modern 

Talk with our users

CPED program BTAP Dillas small business owners in restaurant

 

To reach our goals, the Digital Services team wanted to understand:

  • Who our residents, business owners and visitors are
  • What they are looking for
  • What tasks they want to do

Our best research? We asked. 

Our research included:

  • Interviews with residents and business owners
  • Conversations with seniors
  • Design reviews with people who have accessibility issues
  • User testing
  • Persona development

We also analyzed:

  • Current site data, including the most visited pages
  • Comparable sites
  • Website industry standards and best practices
  • Human-centered design

Organize content by topic

People come to the City’s public website to find information or complete a task.

We reorganized our content by topic so people can get to the content they want with ease:

  • Resident services
  • Business services
  • Things to do
  • Getting around
  • Government

Include relevant, timely information

Scannable.
Findable.
Grab-and-go
.
Quickly understood.
One source of truth.
One city, one voice.

These phrases became the team’s mantra. We used them when sharing our story and working with departments to transform their content.

With this outlook, we created:  

  • “I want to” tiles for quick access to tasks people want to complete
  • 311 help button that appears on every page of the website — help is one click away
  • Report an issue pages that are accessible from a topic area, from search and from a central listing
  • “Before you begin” directions that explain what you need to know before completing a form or viewing a PDF
  • City data and maps that display content visually so users can scan and interact with it
  • City official and department contact information so people can connect with our City government
Screenshot of Resident services webpage

Navigate the site

As you navigate the new website:

  • The site will direct you to pages on our original public website at www2.minneapolismn.gov. Over time, we will add all content to the new website.
  • If you can't find what you’re looking for on our new site, please search our original public website. 

Thank you for exploring the new website. We hope you find it welcoming and useful.

Continually improve

With this initial website launch, the Digital Services team realizes that we haven't reached all our ambitious goals.

The process of getting here wasn’t all rainbows and butterflies. There were bumps in the road, and chances are there will be more in the future. We will continue to fine-tune our work while being true to our content strategy, principles and goals.

We know that our work never ends. We have an ongoing responsibility to deliver a great website experience to everyone who lives, works and plays in Minneapolis.