Sunday, June 25, 2017

City Rolls Out New Technology for Customer Service, Communication, Economic Development and Tourism: Mobile App and Interactive Story Maps Now Available

Less than a year since launching its mobile-ready, responsive website, the City of Southlake has taken its online presence to the next level with the release of the My Southlake Texas app, available  Southlake Appfor iOS and Android smartphones.

Once the app is downloaded, users may sign up to receive customized notifications such as the alerts during emergency situations or to access your favorite Library title. Designed by CivicPlus, which also designed the City’s website, the app provides quick access to the most frequently searched for information on the City’s website. Icons help users easily identify what they are seeking, such as meeting agendas, maps, calendar of events and city departments.

“We know our citizens are tech-savvy and this is the next step in our mobile strategy,” states Pilar Schank, the City’s deputy director of marketing and communication. “The app is not intended to replace the City’s website, but serve as a complementary tool to provide information quickly, no matter where you are.”

This follows on the heels of the February launch of Southlake Connect, a new online tool that provides weather and emergency information delivered via text, phone call or email. Users can also sign up to receive important information about community events and citywide meeting notifications.

Another technology platform utilized by the City to provide information is Video on Demand, which allows live streaming of select public meetings – including City Council, Planning & Zoning and SPIN – as well as houses a video archive for access 24/7. As a result of numerous requests, a new search function has been added to the page, making it easy to find comprehensive video links for a specific topic or go directly to an agenda item, without watching the entire video.

In addition to improving its communication and customer service tools, the City of Southlake has also implemented technology to promote local businesses and attract visitors to Southlake. Such is the case with the recently unveiled shopping and dining guides as dynamic, interactive maps. Known as Southlake Story Maps – a collaboration between the Economic Development & Tourism, Planning & Development Services, and Information Technology Departments – the technology combines authoritative maps with narrative text, images and multimedia content.

Story Maps enable visitors to view points of interest sorted by tabs, which makes it easy to explore what’s in the Southlake. Visitors can click on the places either in the tabs or on the map to find out more about them. The tabs automatically update as visitors navigate around the map to show them what’s interesting in their current map view.

“The purpose of implementing Story Maps is to enhance the online visitor experience, as well as make it easy for people to locate businesses in Southlake, which is important as we continue to add more retail and restaurants,” explained Jill Lind, senior marketing manager who leads tourism efforts for the City, noting Story Maps are also available for City parks, City Council and Planning & Zoning agendas.   Shopping Guide

With a mission of providing outstanding value and unrivaled quality to residents and businesses in Southlake, the City realizes the importance of customer service, both in person and online. For more information about these projects, contact the Office of Marketing & Communication at (817) 748-8037.

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