Boston — The Baker-Polito Administration today announced the launch of the new Mass.gov website, now equipped to better meet the needs of thousands of constituents visiting it on a daily basis. The website has been in design and development since late 2016 and been improved through pilot tests, user research, and public feedback over the last several months.
“People across Massachusetts interact with state government online more and more each day, so redesigning the Commonwealth’s digital front door was a crucial step for improving our ability to effectively communicate with the residents, businesses, and visitors we are here to serve,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Massachusetts is home to a nation-leading innovation economy, and we are proud to add a modern and practical website from the Commonwealth to the community.”
“The new Mass.gov is a much more responsive and flexible product that can be used on various devices by people of all ages and abilities,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “The Commonwealth’s design team went through extensive lengths to ensure the new website can be used by everyone. We look forward to working with our cities, towns, and constituents to ensure this asset continues to improve and work well for all users.”
Today over 76% of our constituents interact with government online, more than any other medium. The new website will work well with both high-speed connections and pay-as-you-go wireless data plans, and have better functionality on more devices than the previous version. New standards implemented on the site will also make search results richer, including information like addresses, phone numbers, and hours of operation.
“The redesign project is part of our mission to modernize the state’s digital infrastructure,” said Executive Office of Technology Services and Security (EOTSS) Chief Digital Officer Holly St. Clair. “The new Mass.gov is designed to be accessible for everyone — including people who are blind who navigate the Internet with a keyboard and listen to screen readers, as well as elderly people and those with visual impairments who need high contrast and large text to read. Providing a modern digital website will better serve these important parts of our community.”
Since late 2016, the design team has done a number of small, focused tests online and in person, including a test session at a career center in Worcester and another at the Perkins School for the Blind. Mass.gov testers have been from urban, suburban, and rural areas from every part of the state. Some 330,000 users visited the pilot website launched to the general public in February. Hundreds of users have provided important feedback to user experience researchers through over a dozen tests.
Massachusetts Digital Services is the team under the new technology and security office charged with evolving the new digital platform to improve constituent-focused services. Key strategies to continuously improve Mass.gov over time include:
- Dashboards to give the Commonwealth continuous feedback from constituents on how web content performs so organizations can be proactive and methodical about making improvements.
- Open source technology used by many large companies and universities. Now when other organizations make improvements, Massachusetts can leverage these innovations, too.
- The ability to publish content in formats usable by developers. This means state organizations, cities and towns, and third-party developers will be able to build apps and integrations with the state’s platform, and innovations can be smaller, faster, and cheaper.
On August 1, 2017, the Baker-Polito Administration formally announced the creation of the Executive Office of Technology Services and Security (EOTSS) to provide secure and quality digital information, services, and tools to constituents and service providers when and where they need them. This new secretariat was created under Article 87 of the Massachusetts Constitution that authorizes reorganization of executive branch agencies. In addition to leading the website redesign process, EOTSS is charged with transforming the Commonwealth’s decentralized approach to IT infrastructure and service delivery into a centralized technology organization laser-focused on securing digital assets and providing world-class service to customers and constituents.