As Australian governments share in a common push to take service delivery to their customers, wherever they are, more and more interactions are being designed to take place mobile devices.
According to a 2011 study commissioned by Google, 37 per cent of all Australians own a smartphone, and of this group, 71 per cent use it to access the internet at least once a week.
With smartphone usage and mobile internet access growing rapidly, delivering on mobile platforms will become ever more important in helping government agencies provide quality service delivery.
Early-bird agencies are already taking steps to provide versions of their websites in mobile friendly formats, such as:
- The NSW Government Directory, which enables access to contact information regarding State Ministers, public sector officials and state agencies;
- The Vic.gov.au website and the Contacts and Services Directory for the Victorian Government, both of which were launched in February 2012;
- The NSW Police website, the mobile version of which was launched in December 2011;
- The SA Police website, the mobile version of which was launched in September 2011;
- The Victorian Country Fire Authority (CFA) website, which was built in-house and launched in September 2011.
(Note: The mobile-friendly versions of some of the above websites can only be viewed whilst using a mobile device)
And there are even more projects like these in the works.
The NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet invited tenders for the development of a mobile version of the Jobs.nsw website back in May 2011, however a resulting contract has not become visible and the mobile platform has yet to go live.
Federal agencies have also joined mobile movement, with the Australian Trade Commission (Austrade) launching a mobile version of its website in February 2012, after discovering that it receives 6,000 hits from mobile devices each month.
Developments such as these also provide us with a window into the costs involved in making an agency website mobile-friendly. AusTender reveals that Austrade contracted Elcom Technology to develop the mobile version at a cost of $26,169.
Earlier in March 2011, the agency entered a contract worth $16,788 with Nowspeed, a US-based website design and development company, to develop a mobile version of its Study in AustraliaNorth America Website. However the mobile-friendly version of this website is not currently available.
In December 2011, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority published a $22,000 contract with Squiz for a mobile website redevelopment. The contract period ends in June 2012, and the launch of the new version is likely to take place sometime after that.
Intermedium expects to see higher value contracts for mobile development services emerge as larger and more complex service delivery agencies, such Centrelink and Medicare within the Department of Human Services, make their online services available for use on mobile devices.
Further expansions of the mobile online government space are expected to be announced at the Enhancing Online & Mobile Content for Government Conference in Canberra, which will take place from 30-31 May 2012. The conference is aimed at making online government content accessible and optimised for smart phone users.