Citizen Goals Online

Catalin Vrabie

Abstract


The purpose of this paper is to give to public institution Web designers a better understanding of the citizens’ objectives when accessing a Web page. Understanding citizen online goals is critical because it gets to the heart of what the public institution website should or could “do.”
Approach: The challenge for e-marketers is that for most agencies/institutions, there are likely to be multiple goals that represent the “reason why” citizens could come to the website. For example, a national theatre website might be very effective for people who have already been there, they know effectively what place is the best, who are the actors, etc.
Research limitations: The nature of a public institution activity almost dictates the different types of goals that consumers have when visiting the site. It is clear that a citizen has a different goal when accessing a theatre Web page or when he’s accessing a municipality Web page. This is the biggest impediment for drawing a good conceptual model for a public institution Web page.
Practical implications: there are likely to be many other goals that could lead people to visit the site, like receiving customer service or leaving a remark.
Value: Since citizen online goals represent the starting point for Web design efforts (for public institutions), this article has attempted to highlight the nature and types of goals that e-marketers might consider when planning what their website should do in order to create.
Findings: The goal a site visitor has when arriving at a website tends to be very action oriented. If the visitor has never visited the site before, the goal may simply be to evaluate the website and figure out what the site is and if it will help him. On the other hand, if the visitor has reached the site as the result of a directed search or is a repeat visitor, the user goal is likely to be specific and functional. If important citizen goals are not supported by the website, the public institution is at risk of losing a significant amount time in dealing with citizens at its offices. As a result, and because the public institution feels that it should have an online presence, many websites are created to offer little more than online reproductions of its services.

Keywords


electronic; digital and cyber marketing

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"Social Technologies" ISSN online 2029-7564