San Rafael, Calif., launched its new digital operations, located at cityofsanrafael.org, using a holistically innovative approach to how cities will procure and deliver online services to residents, businesses and visitors in the future.
San Rafael (pop. 57,713), the largest city in Marin County, located directly north of San Francisco across the Golden Gate Bridge, began its digital transformation process in early 2016, and the new web presence marks the beginning of a new digital direction for the city.
The new city platform includes a mobile-friendly interface that adapts to all devices, security protocol to protect visitor privacy and an administrative system that allows internal staff to easily and regularly maintain online services. Key features include predictive search, easy access to frequently asked questions, payments, localized services and issue reporting.
San Rafael researched several options, and the staff tested a trial of the final software prior to making a purchasing commitment. Rather than a traditional RFP-based approach to custom services, San Rafael selected a software-as-a-service and platform option with ProudCity.
San Rafael Senior Management Analyst Rebecca Woodbury shares with Government Technology why partnering with startups was the right fit for the city:
Rather than focus on technology first, San Rafael started with a set of values to guide its digital modernization efforts. The city approached its vendor partnerships with a set of principles that include:
- Authentic and responsive engagement
- Accessibility (user-centered design, mobile-friendly, ADA compliant)
- Continuous improvement and learning